The Women’s World Cup Final is set as reigning champions the United States will take on European Championship winners the Netherlands on Sunday in Lyon.
Both national teams will fancy their chances after coming through two very different semifinals.
The US are aiming for their fourth Women’s World Cup trophy in five tries. Meanwhile, the Netherlands are aiming for their first ever win in a Women’s World Cup Final.
The Dutch are playing in just their second ever Women’s World Cup tournament and could write their names in the history books with a famous win over the Americans.
Women’s World Cup Final: United States
The US defeated England in the Women’s World Cup semifinals, 2-1. The Yanks needed a controversial VAR call to disallow Ellen White’s second-half equaliser and an Alyssa Naeher penalty save on a poorly struck spot kick from Steph Houghton to hang on for the win.
Jill Ellis’ team has struggled at times in the knockout round. They have won all three elimination games by 2-1 scorelines after blowing out opponents in the group stage.
The Yanks posted 18 goals scored and zero conceded in an easy Group F.
Ellis will have a big decision over which players to start in attack against the Dutch. Tobin Heath and Christen Press got the nod on either side of Alex Morgan in the semifinal. Ellis’ decision to start Press pushed two-goal quarterfinal hero Megan Rapinoe to the bench.
Rapinoe did not make an appearance in the semifinal raising conspiracy theorists to ponder why the outspoken American player was left on the bench.
Women’s World Cup Final: The Netherlands
The Netherlands’ win over Sweden in the semifinals was a dull fixture in comparison to the pulsating match played by England and the US.
The game finished nil-nil after 90 minutes forcing extra-time. Its only goal came in the 99th minute courtesy of Jackie Groenen.
Sarina Wiegman’s side has had a never give up attitude which has enabled them to score goals late in games. The Dutch have never been out of a fixture at the tournament and, like the US, have not tasted defeat.
The Netherlands are on a nine-match winning streak in all competitions. They will need to play their best football of the year against the US, however, if they hope to claim a victory.
Defensively, the Netherlands will be a difficult matchup for the Americans. The team is physical which is something the US has struggled with in the knockout round. America haven’t been able to bully teams like they did in the group stage.
Women’s World Cup Final: Prediction
The US are in the midst of another golden generation in women’s football. Morgan, Press, Rapinoe, and Heath are all fantastic attackers.
But the USA’s most unsung hero is midfield engine Rose Lavelle. Although she left the semifinal against England early due to a knock, she was the woman of the match.
Lavelle should return to full fitness for the final. Even without her, the US have players who can step in to fill the void. That is what makes the Yanks so good, and it is why they will win a second straight Women’s World Cup trophy on Sunday.
The US are playing in their third straight Women’s World Cup Final and will make it back to back wins.
Score prediction: United States 2-1 The Netherlands