The United States, pursuing their fourth title, will be heavy favorites as they take on the Netherlands in today’s World Cup final. The USWNT has spent 414 minutes of their 540 total minutes played in France with a lead, and though their knockout round performances have been a bit shaky, they’ve never been in any kind of real trouble during their run through the tournament. For the Dutch, who were surprising victors at Euro 2017, it’s a first-ever World Cup final, and there is reason to suspect they might be in a tough spot fitness-wise after a grueling semifinal went the full 120 minutes.
Full time update: Rose Lavelle’s spectacular solo goal in the 69th minute capped a 2-0 win for the USWNT. With the Dutch resolve finally flagging after Megan Rapinoe opened the scoring from the penalty spot, Lavelle found a gap in central midfield and pounced, faking out Stefanie van der Gragt before picking out the bottom corner with a left-footed shot from just outside the box.
From there, the U.S. sealed things off, spending long spells in possession despite dropping into the 541 we’ve seen throughout the knockout round.
The World Cup title is the USWNT’s fourth all-time.
64th minute update: Megan Rapinoe has put the United States ahead 1-0 from the penalty spot. Alex Morgan won the spot kick after being awkwardly fouled by Stefanie van der Gragt just before the hour mark, and after going to VAR, referee Stéphanie Frappart gave the U.S. a penalty kick. Rapinoe sent Sari van Veenendaal the wrong way before firing the USWNT into the lead.
Halftime update: A half of few chances saw the USWNT and Netherlands come in at halftime at 0-0. The U.S. had the best chances, with Sari van Veenendaal making stellar saves on Julie Ertz, Alex Morgan, and (especially) Sam Mewis as the half wore on. Still, the Dutch — extremely organized in a surprise 4411 formation — have offered sporadic threats on the counter, drawing a yellow card on Abby Dahlkemper in the 41st minute.
Key player: Alex Morgan
The Dutch are probably not going to sit in for 90 minutes, but they might bunker in the game’s opening minutes to avoid the early deficit that the USWNT has handed literally every team they’ve faced so far in the tournament (the longest holdout, ironically, is Thailand, who got to the 12th minute before conceding). Jill Ellis is betting big on the idea of an all-out attack early in games to get a lead, which is to say she wants that favorable game state from which to manage play.
With Morgan getting the largest share of the scoring chances, her finishing ability is a big factor in what is a risky (but so far, successful) tactical gambit. The U.S. believes their attack will produce a goal in the first few minutes, so American attackers can’t afford to feel the game out. Morgan and the rest of the front three have to be ready to go from the opening whistle for this approach to pan out.
Location: Parc Olympique Lyonnais (Décines-Charpieu)
Kickoff time: 11:00am Eastern
USWNT starting 11:
Samantha Mewis gets the start over Lindsey Horan, which is to say Ellis has once again dropped the best central midfielder on the planet. Elsewhere, Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle are apparently fit after recent hamstring issues. The rest of the team is exactly what you’d expect.
Netherlands starting 11:
There’s only one notable change here: left back Merel van Dongen has been dropped for Anouk Dekker, with Dominique Bloodworth moving from center back out to cover the empty spot. There were questions over the fitness of Lieke Martens, but she gets the start for the Dutch in their first-ever World Cup final.
Referee: Stéphanie Frappart
Available TV: Fox, Telemundo
Available streaming: If you subscribe to fuboTV via this link, your friends at B&RU get some cash!
Here are your other options: Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer Match Pass, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
What are you drinking?: Unsurprisingly, some iced coffee over the tail end of a long, drawn-out breakfast.
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