After four weeks of constant matches, the final for the FIFA Women’s World Cup is set. The United States and the Netherlands will face off on Sunday, July 7, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. (EST).
The two semifinals played out as polar opposites — an exciting match between the United States and England, and a dull match between the Netherlands and Sweden.
United States (2) - England (1)
The match, as is typical for any involving the Americans, started quick. The United States scored in the 10th minute. At the back post, Christen press finished off a cross from Kelly O’Hara with a lovely header.
Then just nine minutes later, Ellen White equalized. The goal, nice movement in the box and clinical finish, put White in the lead for the golden boot, the award given to the competitions highest scorer, with six goals.
In the 31st minute, Alex Morgan tied White’s six goals in this tournament. The goal, Morgan’s first since the Americans’ opening game when she scored five, would ultimately be the winner in the match.
Alex Morgan scores her first goal since the opening game and retakes the lead in the Golden Boot race (6 goals, 3 assists)She's the first player in #FIFAWWC history to score on her birthday 🎂 pic.twitter.com/EGWBNIyaxI— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2019
The game did not slow down after the goals. It was a tight contest until the final whistle. White had an equalizing goal brought back after a VAR call. Then, in the 83rd minute, England were awarded a penalty. The American keeper Alyssa Naeher saved the penalty down to her right to essentially win the game for the United States.
Netherlands (1) - Sweden (0)
The other match between Sweden and the Netherlands was a less exciting affair. The first half was dull, but the second half picked up with chances for both sides to open the scoring. Still, the match was 0-0 at the end of regulation.
Then, in the 99th minute Jackie Groenen found a loose ball outside the box and provided what is surely one of the best finishes of the tournament, slotting the ball into the far side-netting.
The Netherlands were below par during the match but were rightful winners in the end.
The Dutch will surely be underdogs in the final, but the side was crowned European champions in 2017 and will surely relish the underdog role.
It would take a near perfect Dutch performance to beat the United States, but if the Netherlands can stop the Americans from scoring early, something no team has yet to do this tournament, the game could be closer than many are predicting it to be.
Regardless of the result, the game should produce goals. Both keepers were excellent in their respective matches, but the attacking power on both sides will likely win the night. The United States will want to avoid a finals were the teams play cautiously in fear of conceding. The Americans will want to push hard to score, and the Dutch will either have to match that or sit back and hope defense can win the game. Either way, the Netherlands will not go down as easily as many expect, and it should be an exciting final in Lyon.