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USA race to glory
 Women's Football World Cup News - 8 Jul 2019
United States 2 (Rapinoe pen 60, Lavelle 69)
Netherlands 0

The United States became the second country to retain the World Cup, after Germany in 2007, as two goals in a nine minute second half spell gave them victory against a Netherlands side which gave everything but came up just short.
The key moment of the game came on the hour when a VAR-awarded penalty gave Megan Rapinoe the opportunity to open the scoring, and Rose Lavelle added a second with a solo effort shortly afterwards to end any Dutch hopes.
USA tried to make yet another flying start as they piled on early pressure, but this time the Netherlands were to stand firm and deny them another early goal.
Meanwhile, the Dutch had made a slight alteration to their formation with Vivianne Miedema playing in a slightly deeper role, with Lineth Beerensteyn moving into the centre. The searing pace of Beerensteyn was evident as she chased down a through ball from Vivianne Miedema but it was just fractionally overhit and Alyssa Naeher was quick off her line to clear.
The USA hit back with the first serious attempt on goal, Julie Ertz firing an effort from a corner which was parried by Sari van Veenendaal and Miedema was well placed to clear.
They were to come closer as half time was approaching, first a cross by Megan Rapinoe picked out Samantha Mewis whose glancing header was blocked by van Veenendaal, the ball was returned to Rapinoe out on the left where her low cross was touched goalwards by Alex Morgan but van Veenendaal was able to get a boot on to it and the ball bounced back to her off the post.
Van Veenendaal was keeping up her fine form of the tournament, turning a 20-yard Morgan shot around the post, but the Dutch rode out the storm and had a great spell as half time approached. First, Miedema made a strong run into the area where her cross was cleared by Becky Sauerbrunn and Spitse's shot was deflected over. The resulting corner resulted in a scramble in the area but the Netherlands were unable to fashion a clear cut chance and the half time whistle sounded with the scoreline goalless.
On the hour mark though, the USA were handed a great chance to take the lead when Stefanie van de Gragt was adjudged to have caught Morgan with a high boot in the area. Played was initially waved on but VAR inevitably intervened to rule it as a foul and Rapinoe coolly slotted home from the spot.
The Netherlands tried to hit back with Miedema making a jinking run into the area before being crowded out by several defenders, but USA tails were in the air and suddenly they were two ahead. Lavelle picked the ball up and drove at the Dutch defence, who backed off for once, and she shifted the ball to her left and found the corner of the net.
Spitse made a superb challenge to deny Heath a third and van de Gragt, who had a magnificent tournament, also made fine late challenges to deny both Morgan and Heath as they broke through on goal with a tired Dutch side committed to attack.
United States: Alyssa Naeher, Kelley O'Hara (sub Ali Krieger 45mins), Crystal Dunn, Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle, Abby Dahlkemper, Samantha Mewis, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe (sub Christen Press 81mins), Tobin Heath (sub Carli Lloyd 86mins).
Netherlands: Sari van Veenendaal, Desiree van Lunteren, Dominique Bloodworth, Jackie Groenen, Stefanie van de Gragt, Anouk Dekker (sub Shanice van de Sanden 73mins), Lineth Beerensteyn, Sherida Spitse, Vivianne Miedema, Danielle van de Donk, Lieke Martens (sub Jill Roord 70mins).


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