The United States beat the Netherlands in the 2019 Women’s World Cup on Sunday 2-0, following a month-long tournament that attracted more attention to the sport — and to social issues surrounding the women’s league — than ever before.
The 8th Women’s World Cup, which kicked off on June 7, culminated Sunday evening at Parc Olympique Lyonnais, in France, and resulted in a hard-fought fourth world championship for the US team.
From the outset of the tournament, the US team was favored to win. In their first match against Thailand, they won 13-0, scoring, as some have pointed out, more goals in one game than the men’s team has scored in every World Cup since 2006 combined.
So going into the final game today, Holland was the underdog, despite having won the UEFA European Women’s Championship two years ago. They staved off goal attempts until minute 61, when US team captain Megan Rapinoe sunk a penalty kick to the right of the box.
The purple-haired Rapinoe has drawn attention throughout the tournament for her outspoken political views, but also for her standout playing: this was her sixth goal of the Cup, tying her with teammate Alex Morgan for most goals in the tournament.
Eight minutes later, midfielder Rose Lavelle scored the second goal of the match — and ultimately, the Netherlands never caught up, failing to score a goal despite a number of attempts. When the final whistle blew, the US was crowned world champion for the second time in four years.
This was the Women’s Cup’s most popular tournament ever. The opening match, semi-finals and final match all sold out within 48 hours, and an estimated billion people tuned in for matches.
The US is a dominant team on the world stage, and The New York Times’ Rory Smith described an “American Invasion in Lyon,” where fans decked out in stars and stripes helped give the US players a sense of home-court advantage.
After the game ended, the New York Times described free-flowing tears as the US team “cemented their status as the gold standard in women’s soccer.”
“It’s surreal,” Rapinoe said at the game’s finish. “I don’t know how to feel. It’s ridiculous.”