The United States women’s soccer team claimed its fourth Women’s World Cup title Sunday, beating the Netherlands, 2-0, in Lyon, France, to repeat as world champions.
“It’s surreal,” said United States forward Megan Rapinoe, who was named the tournament’s outstanding player after scoring six goals. “I don’t know how to feel. It’s ridiculous.”
The United States was denied for a half. But in the end, there was no stopping the Americans.
Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle scored second-half goals for the Americans, who needed more than an hour to solve a tenacious defensive effort by the Netherlands. Rapinoe broke the dam with a penalty kick in the 61st minute, and Lavelle sealed the victory with a driving run up the center in the 69th.
It was the second straight World Cup title for a dozen of the U.S. players, who claimed their first in Canada four years ago. It also cemented their status as the gold standard in women’s soccer, even as Europe — led by teams like the Netherlands — mounts a sustained assault on their crown.
The tears flowed freely after the win: from striker Alex Morgan, who tied for the tournament lead with six goals; from Kelley O’Hara, who was forced after at halftime after a scary head-to-head collision; from the Dutch, who fought the Americans harder, and kept even with them longer, than any team at this World Cup.
The Netherlands was the only team to keep the United States off the scoreboard in the first half in France but they, like all the other teams before them — Thailand, Chile, Sweden, Spain, France and England — could not hold them off forever.