USA win World Cup - With the aura of invincibility - Sport
- The US defend their world title and beat the Netherlands 2-0 in the final of Lyon.
- The victory is more than earned. Throughout the tournament, the USA were the strongest team.
- Megan Rapinoe scores the first goal of the day and is named Best Scorer and Best Player of the Tournament. The German Giulia Gwinn receives the prize for best young player.
Megan Rapinoe, then. Again. Who else? She breathed out. Glanced up and had long since decided. The ball was on the penalty spot, Rapinoe started, and at that moment in the 61st minute, she had already won the duel against Sari van Veenendaal. The goalkeeper in the Netherlands moved to the right, Rapinoe decided on the other side, and when Van Veenendaal realized that and ordered her body to change direction, it was too late. The ball was in and brought the USA in the World Cup final the lead.
It was the door opener to the 2-0 (0-0) victory of the favorites and the fourth title of the USA after 1991, 1999 and 2015. The prelude to the glittering party in front of 59 000 visitors in the Stade de Lyon, with trophy handover in Konfettiregen.
"We had some incredibly tough games, lots of media attention and pressure," Rapinoe said. "There is no team that is more competitive in knockout stages than us, and that's what makes this team." When Rapinoe did not know that on Sunday night she would be named best player and with six goals as the top scorer of the World Cup, she had already been asked what had been her peak in France. She could have told of her two goals that decided the knockout round against Spain. Or of the two goals with which the United States hosted France in the quarter-finals.
But Rapinoe not only talked about herself: "The highlight for me as one of the older players and as captain of this team was how the younger players flourish here, which was incredible," she said on Saturday: "We always feel we win We have undying blind faith in us. "
It was that self-confidence that not only gave this US team a very special aura at the World Cup, but also that mentality that ultimately made them unbeatable. Spain in the quarter-finals or France in the quarter-finals were not without a chance, England brought the big favorites in the semifinals almost to case. The Dutch also tried their best - in vain. But how did US coach Jill Ellis, 52, say during the tournament? "Other teams visit the press, we live in it."
In the first half, the Dutch women scored something that no other team had managed in the four weeks of the tournament: they stopped the US series to score their first goal in each match within the first twelve minutes. The endgame rival even went so far that the USA could not cheer even after 45 minutes - although they attacked again early and brought the Netherlands from the beginning in distress. No comparison was thus Lyon's 5-2 defeat of Japan in the 2015 final, Carli Lloyd (who came on Sunday in the 87th minute for their final appearance on this big stage) with a hat-trick in the first 16 Minutes ahead. Nevertheless, history was successful: as the second team alongside Germany (2003, 2007), the US defended its title. And Ellis is the first person to succeed as a coach or coach at a World Cup.
The US had to do something this Sunday. The plans of Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman, 49, for her team became clear at an early stage: with the help of Vivianne Miedema's long passes in the lead on Lineth Beerensteyn to surprise the US defensive. That was a good idea, it just was not implemented well enough. The US also tried long balls, left on Rapinoe - or in various combinations over Tobin Heath on the right.
As often as the Dutch women made their playmaking on offense too hectic and nervous by breaking the ball, they locked the ball from the back. That did not always look elegant, but it was effective. The fact that the Americans did not take the lead ultimately prevented goalkeeper van Veenendaal from parrying. Among others Rose Lavelle (17th), Julie Ertz (27th) and Alex Morgan (38th and 40th) failed at the 29-year-olds.
Rapinoe said on the day before the finale that the US, despite its great role as a favorite, respected the final task: "You are a European champion, it is difficult to achieve and that requires a certain level of discipline and mental strength," she said 34-year-old about the opponents. "This team has been tested, they know what it takes to win a title." The addressees were able to make friends with the outsider role and wanted to use them.
The mere fact that Wiegman's players had the chance to win the title in their second World Cup participation - after they could only solve their ticket in the qualifying playoffs - was a continuation of their success story, which began with winning the 2017 European Championship in their own country. But the ingenuity of this personel hardly changed at all World Cup matches Elf helped in the end nothing. In the 1-0 came before Rapinoes penalty kick of the video evidence to help (Stefanie van der Gragt had stepped in with a high leg against Morgan).
That changed the momentum, as much as the Netherlands resisted the defeat. "I'm incredibly proud of my players, the Netherlands has made it incredibly difficult for us," said Ellis. "But I said to my players at halftime: Someday it will be in our favor, I felt that we would get our opportunities." And the next came: In the 69th minute Lavelle ran alone to the gate, danced the Dutch defense - and moved so precisely to 2: 0 in the lower right corner from that van Veenendaal had no chance. So did the footballers of the Netherlands, what the men in three World Cup finals has been denied. They can comfort themselves with having lost to the best.