USWNT claims second straight World Cup title with win over Netherlands

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For the fourth time in their history, the United States have claimed the crown, this time besting the European champions

The United States women’s national soccer team won their second straight World Cup and fourth overall with a 2-0 defeat of the Netherlands.

A scoreless game at the half, the deadlock was broken when Megan Rapinoe slotted home a penalty following a VAR review, which found Stefanie van der Gragt had fouled Alex Morgan in the area.

Rose Lavelle added a second to set the USWNT on their way, while Alyssa Naeher maintained the clean sheet in the victory.

The victory sees Jill Ellis’ side successfully defend their World Cup title won in 2015, while adding to triumphs in 1991 and 1999.

Their four titles is the most of any nation since the tournament began in 1991, with Germany the closest with two titles.

A physical contest between the top ranked team in the world and the reigning European champions, playing in their first final, saw the sides go into the half without a goal, thanks in large part to the efforts of Netherlands goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal.

But in a World Cup which has seen VAR usage dominate the conversation, it again came to the fore 15 minutes into the second half.

Van der Gragt struck Morgan’s shoulder with a high boot, but referee Stephanie Frappart believed the defender got the ball and signaled for a corner.

Instead replay showed the foul and after a review, Frappart pointed to the spot, allowing Rapinoe to step up and give the USWNT the 1-0 advantage and put the Netherlands behind for the first time in the tournament.

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In doing so, Rapinoe netted her sixth goal of the competition, bringing her a share of the Golden Boot with team-mate Alex Morgan and England’s Ellen White, as well as making her the oldest player at age 34 to score in a World Cup final and the first to convert a penalty in a final.

Lavelle’s goal completed a record-setting haul for the U.S. women, as it was their 26th goal of the competition. No other side has ever scored more at a Women’s World Cup – surpassing the 1991 USWNT as well as Germany’s 2003 side, which both had 25 en route to a title.

It also continues a run of dominance from the USWNT that has seen them lost just once in their last 45 matches – a 3-1 defeat to France last January, amassing a record of 39-1-5 over that span.