Soccer, formally known as association football, is known for the sheer difficulty of scoring points in the game in comparison to most other team sports. That means every goal scored is celebrated, hence the football nickname of “The Beautiful Game” among other reasons. That also means that, in terms of FIFA tournament championships, it is not common to have back-to-back champions. In the FIFA Women’s World Cup, for a time Germany has been the only repeat champion. That feat, done in the FIFA WWC’s of 2003 and 2007, has now been equaled this Sunday by reigning FIFA Women’s champion, USA.
TIME reports that Team USA had indeed triumphed in defending its 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship title, by beating the Netherlands this July 7 at the 2019 Cup, held in France. The final game between American and Dutch teams would be played at the Stade de Lyon, filled with up to 57,900 spectators eager to see which outcome will happen: a successful US defense of the title (and bump their count to 4), or Holland succeeding in winning their first Women’s World Cup championship. The American team was the first FIFA WWC team to win three titles total following their 2015 victory over Japan.
But against the Dutch eager to be the champions for once, the USA would find a worthy foe. Goalie Sari van Veenedaal was like a stone wall against attempts by the Americans to score, being a major factor in the scoreless first half of play. On the second half however, US power would not be denied. It started on minute 62 of the game when Megan Rapinoe, the controversial American co-captain put the ball through the Dutch goal. When Rose Lavelle followed through later on, the Netherlands’ frustration was completed via a 2-0 championship victory.
While Team USA was playing for their country’s honor and glory in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, back home they were ruffling feathers, particularly Rapinoe, 3-time WWC veteran and 2012 Olympian, who was a notorious critic of President Donald Trump. Her support for vilified NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s dissent at the US National Anthem has brought down the ire of Trump and his supporters on her. The team also sued the US Soccer Federation this March for gender discrimination in terms of equal pay, with Rapinoe and her co-captain Alex Morgan at their head.
The US Women’s National Football Team can expect a ticker-tape parade to welcome them back according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. In terms of other achievements Megan Rapinoe is in a three-way Golden Boot tie for top scorer (with Morgan and England’s Ellen White). She is also the top Golden Ball (MVP) winner, with teammate Rose Lavelle getting the Bronze Ball (3rd).
Image courtesy of Evening Standard