The heavily favored United States team has defeated Netherlands 2-0 in the women’s World Cup soccer final in Lyon, France, securing its fourth title and winning back-to-back tournaments for the first time.
The Americans defeated four other European teams — Sweden, Spain, France and England — on their way to the final, and dominated Sunday in defeating the reigning European champion Dutch.
Football analysts say the United States women’s national team went into the match as favorites because of their greater depth and experience than the Dutch.
One of the top American players, Megan Rapinoe, who sat out the semi-final win over the British with a slight hamstring strain, scored the opening goal for the U.S. side on a penalty kick in the 61st minute. Rose Lavelle added a goal in the 69th minute to seal the victory.
U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated the team on their win via Twitter.
Congratulations to the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team on winning the World Cup! Great and exciting play. America is proud of you all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 7, 2019
The U.S. also won the world title in 1991, 1999 and 2015, along with Olympic gold medals in 1996, 2004, 2008 and 2012. Germany is the only other country to win multiple women’s World Cups, in 2003 and 2007.
Former U.S. soccer star Julie Foudy explained before the match what was at stake for the Americans.
“They’ve done all the hard stuff. Weathering the storm that was the Spanish game. Beating the hosts in Paris. Knocking out a very good English team. But they … must bring it home to secure their legacy, especially against a team that doesn’t have the same depth of talent and which is playing on less rest,” she said.
Even as its success in the tournament earns it unprecedented acclaim at home, the U.S. women’s team is suing the country’s soccer federation for equal pay with members of country’s much less successful men’s national team. The pay disparity is pronounced, with female soccer players’ base salary roughly $30,000 less a year than their male counterparts. The players agreed to submit to arbitration following the end of the tournament.
The soccer federation awarded the men’s team a $5.4 million bonus after it lost in the round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup, while handing the women’s team $1.7 million when it won in 2015.
Rapinoe has also feuded Presiden Trump, saying that in opposition to his presidency she would not accept an invitation to go to the White House if the Americans won the title.
Trump said in response, “Megan should WIN before she TALKS,” and invited the whole team whether it wins or loses the title.