The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) won the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup after defeating the Netherlands 2-0. Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle scored to earn their team a second straight World Cup victory. This win also means that the USWNT have lifted a record-breaking 4 trophies in the international competition.
Speaking to the New York Post, scorer Megan Rapinoe was ecstatic: “Getting to play at the highest level of the World Cup with the team we have is just ridiculous. But to be able to couple that with everything on the field and to back up all of those words with performances and to back up all of those performances with words, it’s just incredible,” she said. “I feel like this team is in the midst of changing the world around us as we live, and it’s just an incredible feeling.”
The Netherlands, who made the final after beating Sweden in a tight game that went to extra time, fought hard. But they looked second-best from the start. Even so, it took 61 minutes for the dominant USWNT to break through.
Rapinoe, an advocate for equal pay for women, scored her sixth goal of the tournament in the 61st minute. The US were awarded a penalty after Dutch player Stefanie van der Gragt fouled striker Alex Morgan in the box.
Rapinoe calmly sent the ball past goalkeeper Sari van Veenendal to put the Americans ahead. She finished the tournament with six goals, tied for the Golden Boot award with teammate Alex Morgan and Ellen White.
R A P I N O E— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 7, 2019
That’s it. That’s the tweet. pic.twitter.com/O1NmH9OkdM
The 24-year old Lavelle put the USWNT further ahead with a beautiful left-footed shot from 18 yards 8 minutes later. She is a rising star in the American setup and will certainly lead her team to more international success.
The USWNT’s Journey to the Trophy
The USWNT certainly deserved to lift the trophy after a dominating and record-breaking performance in France. The Americans never fell behind the entire tournament and began their World Cup by thrashing Thailand 13-0, a Cup record.
Jill Ellis, with more than 30 years experience managing and coaching football teams, became the first coach to win two straight World Cups. In an interview with NPR, Ellis expressed hope that the USWNT’s performance would inspire a new generation of American footballers.
“Your hope is [that] back in the U.S., more kids want to go out and play this great sport.”
While no one can deny they worthy winners of the Cup, their journey to the top was not without controversy. The team was repeatedly criticized for celebrating their goals too enthusiastically, especially when they were already far ahead.
Star player Alex Morgan was also faulted for celebrating her semi-final goal against England by pretending to sip tea.
Even so, fans and American sports personalities like Billie Jean King were quick to come to the team’s defense. Megan Rapinoe, who was also recognized as the World Cup’s top player, summed up the USWNT’s attitude best.
“If anyone wants to come at our team for not doing the right thing, not playing the right way, not being the right ambassador for the sport, they can come at us. Because I think out only crime was an explosion of joy last night,” she said, referring to the celebrations in their defeat of Thailand.
The only thing the USWNT was guilty of during the Cup was enjoying every moment of their trophy run.