A goalless first half and heroics from absolute beast Sari van Veenendaal (SVV) weren’t enough to stop a dominant USWNT from claiming a fourth WWC title.
Let me just say it’s been one hell of a ride to get to this final my friends. From the USWNT seemingly pissing off the world by not spilling the tea but instead sipping it rather delicately (pinkies out) to the Dutch fans providing us with spectacular bouncing seas of orange (can the Roar steal this please?) we’ve been entertained every god damn step of the way.
Let me just say, WHAT. A. GAME. This is the game we deserved. Even with the 1am start I didn’t need coffee, I just needed to inject SBS directly into my veins.
The USWNT were the favourites going into this match leaving the Dutch to go in as underdogs. The USWNT fully embraced their overlord status when they announced their front line of Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath. Three absolute QWEENS and you just know they’ll punish your back line for the smallest slip up.
The US pressed from the outset as you would expect, but Rapinoe and Heath felt like they are constantly present every time the Dutch backline have the ball. HOW DO THEY DO IT?! Sure, they are professional athletes in peak physical condition so at the start of the match they should be getting into these areas but HOW DO THEY DO IT?!
We get through the opening 10 minutes and we’re still at 0-0 though the US look dangerous. Rose Lavelle latches on the ball keeping it in and feeds it back towards the near post but SVV gets down and scopes it up before any USWNT players can finish it off in the 17th.
The Dutch looked to have moments where you think they might be able create some magic but the US just won’t let them through.
Julie Ertz had a great chance in the 28th minute to make it 1-0 from close range but SVV reacted quickly through a crowded box to parry it away.
The world held its collective breath in the 37th minute as Morgan went to ground in the box following a nudge from Dominique Bloodworth. Sure Morgan stays down to make it look like there was a fair bit of contact but the contact was definitely there. The ref waved it away and we can all breath again.
SVV continues to convince me that she might actually be a brick wall first and a human second as she denies Morgan and Mewis with two more class saves in quick succession. The onslaught continues as Morgan takes a shot from 20 yards out looks to be going in but SVV is there again to get a touch and push it out for a corner in the 40th.
At this point Twitter reminds us all the SVV is a free agent. ABSOLUTELY INSANE.
The Dutch are laying it on THICK in the dying moments of the first half but somehow, we get to half time without any goals. Van Veenendaal was outstanding in the first half and I am here for all of the Twitter love she’s getting.
I’m not sure what happened during the half time talk but the US came out firing in the second half. This game hasn’t lacked pace at all but somehow they’ve stepped it up a notch. After constant pressure from the US there’s another penalty shout after Morgan is clipped by Stefanie van der Gragt’s high boot. It goes to VAR and the US are ultimately awarded a penalty. I don’t have a problem with this at all (@ me if you want, I’ll probably be sleeping in though and might ignore it). Van der Gragt is a little late, doesn’t get the ball and this all happens in the box.
Absolute goddess Rapinoe steps up to take the pen and slots it home just to the left of SVV. It’s the first time we see SVV fumble as she starts to go the wrong way. At 1-0 I’m nervous for the Dutch and Lavelle is starting to look like fire in the midfield.
Lavelle runs straight through the middle of the pitch, always with eyes on goal before unleashing her shot on the bottom right in the 69th. SVV can’t get there and the mood of this game has shifted dramatically as the US lead 2-0. I thought the Oranje could came back after one but the USWNT are too confident.
SVV tries to keep the Dutch in this game though and continues to brick wall it up, denying Crystal Dunn from close range in the 76th. I could go on and on about minute by minute updates in this game but despite the Oranje’s best efforts, the USWNT have this in the bag.
I love a good underdog story but the USWNT have been consistent throughout this entire tournament. From their record breaking 13-0 victory over Thailand to Rapinoe being the voice we all needed to hear throughout the tournament, the US owning their brilliance is why I both love and hate them. Shout to Lavelle and SVV for their outstanding performances tonight and congratulations to the USA. May their reign be crushed by the Matildas in the near future.
By Bree Reidy