After weeks of uproar over its sportsmanship and elaborate goal celebrations, the United States women’s soccer team has won its fourth World Cup with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands in Lyon, France.
‘We’re crazy,’ captain Megan Rapinoe said after the U.S. won its second consecutive World Cup title. ‘That’s what makes us special.’
Following a scoreless first half, captain Megan Rapinoe scored a penalty kick in the 61st minute and Rose LaValle added a goal of her own in the 69th minute.
The first goal came about after referee Stephanie Frappart awarded a penalty following a video review showed that defender Stefanie van der Gragt made a high challenge on American striker Alex Morgan.
Rapinoe, who was returning from a hamstring injury, confidently struck the spot-kick down the middle and past a static Sari van Veenendaal, who seemed to anticipate Rapinoe would shoot to the side and was wrong-footed.
‘It’s unbelievable,’ Rapinoe told Fox after the win. ‘We have all our friends and family here. It’s surreal.’
WORLD CUP WINNERS
5-time winners – Brazil (men)
4 – Germany (men), Italy (men), United States (women)*
2 – Argentina (men), Uruguay (men), France (men), Germany (women)
1 – England (men), Spain (men), Japan (women), Norway (women)
It was Rapinoe’s sixth goal, tying her with Morgan and England’s Ellen White at the top of the scoring charts.
For her goal, LaVelle collected the ball some 30 meters out, advanced to the penalty area and skipped past defender Stefanie van der Gragt before planting a low shot past goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal.
‘I am so proud of her,’ Rapinoe said. ‘She’s a superstar.’
She was mobbed as she dived into the arms of her teammates as she sprinted to the U.S. bench to celebrate.
Sunday marked the first time in the tournament that the U.S. women entered halftime without the lead – and not because they didn’t have their chances.
Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal was the unquestioned star of the first 45 minutes, making four difficult saves and shutting down several American scoring opportunities.
The heavily-favored Americans previously scored in the first 12 minutes of every other tournament game. Sunday also marked only the second time in the tournament that the U.S. entered halftime without the lead.
The Americans would go on for another half dozen, or so, scoring chances, but failed to convert with Van Veenendaal and the Dutch defense stifling the U.S. attack.
The U.S. captain has made headlines off the field during the World Cup, most notably, when a previously recorded interview with Eight by Eight magazine showed her declaring she would not ‘go to the f***ing White House’ if the Americans win the tournament.
She has also refused to sing the national anthem before games after previously kneeling in protest in 2016. The U.S. Soccer federation has since implemented a rule requiring players to stand, and Rapinoe has complied.
Rapinoe did not sing the national anthem before Sunday’s game.
Source: daily main