UPDATE 69th: GOAL!!! Rose Lavelle!! Just cut through the Dutch midfield and struck it from the top of the box perfectly passed the keeper. Just watch the replay.
UPDATE 61st: GOAL!!! Megan Rapinoe smashes home a PK earned for a high boot. VAR took a look after a no-call but with a high boot that had no connection with the ball, or close to it, a penalty was awarded.
This is it. The final match. For all the marbles. Or all the stars, rather.
On Sunday, July 7 at 8 AM PT, Reign FC’s Megan Rapinoe and Allie Long and the United States will go for another World Cup title. They’ll have to get past the Netherlands — a team that advanced to the finals in just their second-ever tournament appearance — to earn a fourth star on their crest.
For the second time in the tournament’s history, both teams facing off in the Women’s World Cup final are coached by a woman. The Jill Ellis v. Sarina Wiegman showdown will air on FOX.
The U.S. have had a much-discussed run to the final, with goal celebrations becoming one of the main talking points of the tournament. Did they celebrate too much against Thailand? Were Megan Rapinoe or Alex Morgan too arrogant in their celebrations against France and England? Lost in the conversation is the fact that the U.S. already advanced past two of the best teams in the tournament to get here.
And they did it with a midfield that appears to be clicking at just the right time. Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis, Lindsey Horan and Julie Ertz have created a formidable midfield after months of frustration leading up to the World Cup, where the U.S. often bypassed the middle of the field due to an inability to build play from there. Now, when it matters most, the midfield has been organized defensively and the engine of the attack.
The Netherlands, meanwhile, have advanced to the final thanks to a series of late goals and some fantastic goalkeeping from Sari van Veenendaal, who has arguably been the best keeper in the tournament. They are a team that often tries to dominate possession and limit their opponents’ chances by not letting them have the ball, but the Oranje Leeuwinnen haven’t been as much of an offensive powerhouse as many expected. They needed extra-time to defeat Sweden, as midfielder Jackie Groenen scored their lone goal, which happened to be the team’s only goal scored thus far from outside the penalty area.
Both teams are building off recent success — with the U.S. winning the World Cup in 2015 and the Netherlands becoming EURO champions in 2017. One of them is bound to make some more history on Sunday.
Who to Watch
- Vivianne Miedema — The center back pairing of Abby Dahlkemper and Becky Sauerbrunn looked vulnerable against England, with Dahlkemper in particular frequently losing her mark and looking lost in the first half. Miedema is a player that only needs one chance to strike. The U.S. centerbacks can’t make any mistakes on Sunday against her.
- Sherida Spitse — Oranje’s best player this tournament, Spitse was called into action frequently against Sweden. She provides lethal service on set pieces while also being a crucial defensive presence in the midfield. If Rose Lavelle is healthy, Spitse is going to be the one tasked with nullifying her.
- Tobin Heath — Heath has had a largely unremarkable tournament and was quiet against France and just slightly more dominant against England. The Netherlands’ weakest spot on defense appears to be left back — Sweden attacked that side frequently — which means Heath’s performance could make or break the game. Is this her time to shine?
What to Watch
- Can the U.S. take advantage of a weaker left side of Oranje’s defense? It worked pretty well for Sweden — but they didn’t have the attacking power to finish their chances.
- Can the midfield exploit the space between Netherlands’ defense and midfield? They’ve left large gaps here in prior games as they pushed the attack.
- Will the U.S. score early? The team has chosen to sit back and defend more after early scores against England and France. Will they do the same against the Oranje? And will it work?
- Energy conservation: The game is going to be hot and humid, and the U.S. might be better suited to deal with it — considering the Netherlands have one fewer day of rest and went to extra time in their semifinal match.
Megan Rapinoe starts again for the U.S.
How to Watch
This is your USA v. Netherlands World Cup final game thread. Watch and discuss with us.