Sat | Nov 28, 2020

‘USAgainst’ them - Embattled United States retain FIFA Women’s World Cup title

Published:Monday | July 8, 2019 | 12:17 AM
Netherlands goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal fails to save a shot by United States’ Rose Lavelle (not pictured), who scored her side’s second goal during the FIFA Women’s World Cup final at the Stade de Lyon in Decines, outside Lyon, France, yesterday.
Netherlands goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal fails to save a shot by United States’ Rose Lavelle (not pictured), who scored her side’s second goal during the FIFA Women’s World Cup final at the Stade de Lyon in Decines, outside Lyon, France, yesterday.

LYON, France (AP):

The United States women’s football team was as good as American players promised — maybe even better.

Especially Megan Rapinoe, the pink-haired captain who emerged with the Golden Ball as top player, the Golden Boot as top scorer and a worldwide stature as a champion for gender equity.

The US won their record fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup title and second in a row, beating the Netherlands 2-0 yesterday when Rapinoe converted a tie-breaking penalty kick in the second half and Rose Lavelle added a goal.

Rapinoe scored in the 61st minute after a video review determined Stefanie van der Gragt had fouled Alex Morgan with a kick to the shoulder in the penalty area.

Two days past her 34th birthday, Rapinoe slotted the ball past goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal for her sixth goal of the tournament. The oldest player to score in a Women’s World Cup final, she struck a familiar victorious pose with arms outstretched.

‘SURREAL’

“It’s surreal. I don’t know how to feel like now. It’s ridiculous,” Rapinoe said. “We’re crazy and that’s what makes us so special. We just have no quit in us. We’re so tight, and we’ll do anything to win.”

Lavelle, at 24 the team’s up-and-coming star, added her third goal of the tournament on an 18-yard left-footed shot in the 69th after a solo run from the centre circle.

“She’s superstar, not even in the making, she’s straight up superstar at this point,” Rapinoe said.

Fans, many dressed in red, white and blue, chanted “Equal Pay!” at the final whistle , a reminder that players sued the US Soccer Federation in March claiming gender discrimination.

Rapinoe drew the ire of US President Donald Trump during the tournament by saying she and teammates would refuse to visit the White House, part of the team’s wider push for gender equity. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio needed just a few seconds after the final whistle to invite the team to a ticker-tape parade up the Canyon on Heroes in Manhattan on Wednesday.

The Americans never trailed in the tournament and set records with 26 goals and a 12-game World Cup winning streak dating back to 2015. US coach Jill Ellis became the first coach to lead a team to two Women’s World Cup titles, and the US joined Germany, in 2003 and 2007, as the only repeat champions.