LYON (AFP) – The United States retained the women’s World Cup on Sunday as a Megan Rapinoe penalty and a Rose Lavelle strike gave the holders a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in the final in Lyon, prompting new questions over a potential visit to Donald Trump’s White House.
Rapinoe stroked home from 12 yards to put the USA ahead just after the hour mark and end the tournament as joint top scorer on six goals after making headlines for stating she would boycott any team visit to the presidential mansion after the tournament.
Coach Jill Ellis remained coy on whether the team would carry out the visit if invited, saying that she “wouldn’t bet” on an invite coming.
However the US President put their spat to one side to congratulate the team, tweeting: “Congratulations to the US Women’s Soccer Team on winning the World Cup! Great and exciting play. America is proud of you all!”
There was an air of inevitability about the 34-year-old, the star of this World Cup on and off the field, putting the USA ahead, and it also seemed inevitable that the breakthrough goal should come from a VAR-awarded penalty.
The whippet-like Lavelle, another stand-out performer over the last month, got the second in the 69th minute, killing off Dutch hopes of a comeback.
The victory underlines the USA’s status as the dominant force in international women’s football as they claim the World Cup for the fourth time in eight editions.
“I don’t even have words, it’s crazy right now. Even just getting to another final, it’s so difficult,” said Rapinoe. “Hopefully we will continue to reign strong for a number of years.”
Rapinoe ends the tournament with the Golden Ball for the best player ahead of England’s Lucy Bronze and Lavelle, while also winning the Golden Boot as her six goals came from fewer minutes on the field than teammate Alex Morgan or England’s Ellen White.