In front of a crowd of 57,900, across the ocean in Lyon, France, the United States lifted the trophy high as they completed their destiny and basked in the glory of streamers, fireworks and song, becoming only the second-ever back-to-back FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions after defeating the Netherlands 2-0 with goals from Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle to earn it’s fourth star above the crest.
In the final match of the tournament Kelley O’Hara got the nod from Head Coach Jill Ellis as the starting rightback, while Becky Sauerbrunn took her usual spot as the starting centerback. The Utah Royals FC defensive duo each appeared in six of seven matches for the United States. Royals FC FW Christen Press entered the match as a substitute for the game-winning goal scorer, Megan Repinoe, in the 79th minute.
In an unusual fashion the Stars and Stripes started the match off slow, marking the first time in the competition that they did not score in the first 15 minutes, and failed to do so in the first 45. Despite out-shooting the Netherlands 5-0 the two squads finished the half even at 0-0.
As a result of a first-half kerfuffle, involving head to head contact, O’Hara was substituted out for Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger at the start of the second-half.
The United States made quick work at the start of the second half with several shots on goal, pressuring the backline of the Dutch. In the 58th minutes Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan found herself in a position to receive the ball inside the box when Dutch defender Stefanie Van der Gragt stuck her foot out high, colliding with the United States forward. After Video Assisted Review the Red, White and Blue were awarded a penalty kick.
Reign FC forward Rapinoe, once again, stepped up to the spot and with the poise and experience of a seasoned veteran she slotted it in to the left side of goal past Dutch goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal, putting the United States up 1-0.
Nearly 10 minutes later first-time World Cup player and Washington Spirit midfielder Lavelle dribbled the ball up the middle of the field through a series of orange jerseys, ripping off a shot from the top of the box, slamming it into the back of the net to double the lead.
The two goals on the night would be enough to put the nail in the coffin for the Netherlands and clinch victory for the Red, White and Blue, their second straight, becoming only the fourth team, men or women, to win the tournament four times.