U.S. Women’s national soccer team looks to defend title at FIFA World Cup
USWNT stars tell Carley Shimkus that spirit and mentality define the team as the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in France.
The U.S. women’s soccer team will meet the Netherlands in the Women’s World Cup final Sunday.
The U.S. are looking for their fourth World Cup title, while it’s the first time the Netherlands will be in the final match. The U.S. are also in their third straight World Cup final. The Americans defeated Japan in 2015, avenging defeat from the same team in 2011.
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The Americans appear to be the overwhelming favorites to win the final.
The U.S. has the tournament’s joint top scorer in Alex Morgan – who has six goals. The U.S. also has Megan Rapinoe, who has scored five goals in the tournament and is expected to play in the match despite suffering a hamstring injury in the match against France. The Americans also got a clutch performance from Alyssa Naeher against England and she will be looking to carry that momentum into the final.
The team also has some controversy swirling around them over Morgan’s goal celebrations. The star striker appeared to pretend to sip tea after scoring a go-ahead goal against England. She responded to the criticism Friday, saying it amounts to a double standard.
The Dutch may not be the favorites in the match, but their defensive showing against Sweden showed the U.S. better not take this team too lightly.
Jackie Groenen scored the Netherlands’ game-winning goal against Sweden in extra time to lift the team to their first World Cup final.
The Netherlands won Group E, defeating Cameroon, New Zealand and Canada on their way to the knockout stage.
In the knockout stage, the Netherlands defeated the 2015 World Cup final runner-up Japan by one goal, and shutout Italy, 2-0, before beating Sweden.
Here are some other things to know before tuning in to watch the U.S. and the Netherlands.
HOW TO WATCH
How you can watch the Women’s World Cup final. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Coverage of the Women’s World Cup final begins at 10 a.m. ET on local FOX stations. The match begins at 11 a.m. ET on local FOX stations. You can stream the match as well on FOX Sports Go.
Alex Morgan was criticized over her ‘tea’ celebration. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
The U.S. will need Alex Morgan to step up as she did against England and put a ball in the back of the net to make sure the Americans solidify their fourth title. The U.S. will also hope to have Megan Rapinoe back and healthy to play in the final. Rapinoe has four goals in the tournament.
Dutch players celebrate after winning the Women’s World Cup semifinal soccer match against Sweden at the Stade de Lyon outside Lyon, France, Wednesday, July 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
On the Dutch side, Jackie Groenen’s momentum will hope to carry the Netherlands past the U.S. Vivianne Miedema is the squad’s top scorer with three goals.
But all eyes will be on their goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal, who had five saves against Sweden in the semifinal. The U.S. has been very aggressive in the first half of play in each of their games and it will be up to Van Veenendaal to really step up if the Dutch defense breaks down.
The U.S. are on an 11-match Women’s World Cup win streak. The last time they didn’t win a match during the tournament was when they tied Sweden 0-0 in group play during the 2015 tournament.
Overall, the U.S. haven’t lost a match since losing to France, 3-1, in an international friendly in January. The team tied twice in that span – once with England and the other with Japan. Both times during the SheBelieves Cup.
The U.S. are the overwhelming favorites to win the World Cup at 1/5 odds, according to Bet-NJ.com. The Netherlands are listed at 3/1 odds to win the title, but 80 percent of the betting market has backed to the Americans in the final match.
Alex Morgan is listed at 5/2 to score the first goal of the match, while the U.S. is listed at 5/1 to win the match 2-0.
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“The odds all but suggest the most successful women’s soccer side of all time are on course to add another World Cup to their trophy cabinet and unless Holland can cause a huge upset, it should be plain sailing from here for the defending champions,” betting expert Anthony Donohue said.
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