Dominating yet another opponent in yet another final, the United States women’s soccer team claimed its fourth Women’s World Cup title on Sunday, beating the Netherlands, 2-0, in Lyon, France, to repeat as world champions.
Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle scored second-half goals for the United States, which needed more than an hour to solve a tenacious Netherlands defense but eventually, rush after rush, found a way through. 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’s surreal,” said Rapinoe, who was named the tournament’s outstanding player. “I don’t know how to feel. It’s ridiculous.”
It was the second straight World Cup title for a dozen of the American players, who claimed their first championship 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.
“They put their heart and soul into this journey, and I can’t thank them enough,” United States Coach Jill Ellis, hoarse and on the verge of tears herself, said minutes after the game. Ellis became the first coach to win consecutive Women’s World Cup titles; her team has not lost a game in the event since 2011 (13-0-1), and will be favored to reclaim its Olympic championship next summer in Tokyo.
Plans were already underway, team officials said, for a parade and celebration of the team’s championship in New York sometime this week.