USA vs. Netherlands
The World Cup Final!
Both teams deserved to be here. They both proved that they were two of the best teams in the world, and it was a hard fought game for both teams. USA came out victorious 2-0, and they held up their fourth World Cup trophy. Netherlands fought hard, and they walked away proud of their accomplishment. Both the US and the Netherlands played outstanding football, and they will both be proud of the work they did in the last month!
Netherlands came into this tournament as reigning champions of Europe, and they showed their dominance throughout the tournament. They made it through the group with 3 wins, and they kept the winning streak going into the knockout rounds. They made their way past last tournament’s runners up, Japan before sliding past Italy in the Quarterfinals. They then had a tough task in Sweden. A game that needed extra time to settle who would be in the final, but the Dutch found the back of the net and a spot in the Final.
In the Final, the Netherlands played very well. They looked to defend and use the counter attack. This is the plan of many teams that face the United States, but the Dutch executed very well in the first half. They were compact defensively which forced the US to go with the long ball, and they were prepared to deal with that too. Although their back line was strong, they needed help. Van Veenendaal, the Dutch goalkeeper came up big in the first half. She saved 4 shots that could have easily been goals had any other keeper been there. She was a wall in the first half, and she actually played really well in the second half despite having 2 goals scored against her. She was outstanding, and one of the main reasons that USA didn’t score more. I love the way Van De Donk was able to start some counter attacks by running at the defenders and playing a few through the middle to Beerensteyn. It almost work a few times, but in the end, they were unable to get the final touch. I loved the way that the Netherlands played both in this game and in the other six games of the tournament. They should be proud of their second place finish. I know that their entire country is proud of what these women were able to accomplish.
USA had one of the toughest paths to the final ever. They were matched up against Sweden in the group stages, but managed to make it out with 3 wins. They they took on a relentless Spanish side, who gave them a bit of a scare. After USA slipped past Spain, they then had to face the home side, France. This was a game that could have been the final, but things worked out to meet in the Quarterfinals. It was hard to see France exit the tournament so early, but USA was moving on to face another dominant team, England. Again, this US team was given a scare, and thanks to VAR, they were able to make into the Final to defend their title.
During the final, USA looked incredible. They played better than I have seen them play all tournament. Everything was working for them. Sauerbrunn and Dahlkemper were able to strengthen up the middle of the defense which has been the weak point of this team all tournament. Crystal Dunn was outstanding again. The game plan was simple. PRESS. They pushed so high up the field on defense that the Netherlands were able to counter, and it almost cost the US on a number of occasion. The US did well to produce opportunities in the first half, but the Dutch keeper wasn’t going to be beat easily. When the team came out for the second half, they were determined to put the ball in the back of the net. They started attacking with more urgency, and eventually, Alex Morgan won a penalty kick. Who else but Megan Rapinoe. This woman has been amazing, and she slots the ball into the net. USA went up 1-0, but they didn’t sit back after that.. Roughly 10 minutes later, Dunn wins a tackle in the middle of the field, and Sammy Mewis finds Rose Lavelle in acres of space. She drives at the defense, does a quick stepover, and fires from 18 yards out. The ball goes across the keeper and into the bottom left corner of the goal. An amazing strike that would secure the victory for the US. The USA were once again World Cup Champions! These women are incredible!
This was a fantastic World Cup Final! I was super excited to see these two face off. The reigning world champs versus Europe’s best. It was set up to be a great game, and it didn’t disappoint. I am sad to see the Women’s World Cup come to a close after such an amazing month of football, but I cannot wait to see what happens in 4 years! Netherlands, enjoy your second place finish. Be proud of what you have done and start preparing for the next tournament! USA, cherish this victory like you have never done it before! You were faced with a mountain to climb, and you did it! Congratulations!