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U.S. Dominates The Netherlands To Win Women's World Cup Title

Jul 8, 2019
Originally published on July 8, 2019 10:12 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The U.S. women's soccer team did more than win the World Cup over the weekend. The U.S.A did beat the Netherlands 2-0 last night in Lyon, France. Americans also inspired many who play the women's game. Here's NPR's Eleanor Beardsley.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOCCER FANS CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED SOCCER FAN #1: Nice run. Nice run.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: The Netherlands game was a nail-biter. For the first time, the U.S. didn't score a goal within the first 15 minutes. The entire first half was a tense back and forth, as chants of U.S.A. and Holland resounded through the stadium. The Americans relentlessly attacked, but the determined Dutch seemed to put up a dike around their goal.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOCCER FANS CHEERING)

KENNETH LOYDE: Very close. Very close. See? This game - this is a real game.

BEARDSLEY: Fans were on the edge of their seats, like Kenneth Loyde (ph), who traveled with his wife and two kids from Austin, Texas.

LOYDE: I love it. It's a very intense game. And we've come a long way. We saw the U.S.A beat France in Paris. And we're here to beat the Netherlands, as well. These guys are the European champions. And so as I was telling my son, this is going to be a double win. If we beat these guys, we beat the European champions and we take the Cup so - U.S.A.

BEARDSLEY: In the second half, the U.S. once again showed its superior conditioning as the Netherlands seemed to tire. The breakthrough came at 62 minutes, when Alex Morgan took a cleat to the shoulder, resulting in a penalty which had to be verified by the VAR, or video assistant referee, a controversial new technology that was used heavily in this World Cup.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOCCER FANS CHEERING)

BEARDSLEY: Megan Rapinoe converted the penalty.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOCCER FANS CHEERING)

BEARDSLEY: Seven minutes later came another goal from breakout American star Rose Lavelle, making it 2-0. The Dutch never recovered. French father Laurent Pourcelot (ph) was watching with his wife and two kids from the stands. He says the American team has really made an impact during this World Cup.

LAURENT POURCELOT: (Through interpreter) We are impressed by their professionalism. They are more advanced than we are in France and Europe. We see it in the preparation and the fans. There are 25,000 Americans at this World Cup. That's impressive. And all this is going to really help build women's football here.

BEARDSLEY: The American players have become celebrities in their own right. Megan Rapinoe's Twitter spat with President Trump has brought the team attention from beyond the sports world, and their ongoing lawsuit for equal pay has turned them into feminist trailblazers. After the game, the 60,000 fans in the sold-out stadium began chanting, equal pay, and the head of soccer's governing body, FIFA, was met with boos.

UNIDENTIFIED SOCCER FAN #2: Boo.

BEARDSLEY: This World Cup broke TV-viewing audience records in many countries and showed the women's game can attract huge crowds. Lauren Cintric (ph) came from Tampa, Fla.

LAUREN CINTRIC: There's just something special about the women's team, to see the passion and just to see how they played. Everybody worked so hard. There's no flopping around. It's gotten much more technical, and it's really, really great to see.

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTS ANNOUNCER: Megan Rapinoe.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOCCER FANS CHEERING)

BEARDSLEY: Star forward Megan Rapinoe won the Golden Boot award for most goals scored in the Cup and the Golden Ball award for best tournament player. The U.S. team is going home to a ticker tape parade in New York City. French sports newspaper L'Equipe showed a triumphant Rapinoe and teammate Alex Morgan on its cover this morning with the headline "Great Again."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RUN THE WORLD (GIRLS)")

BEYONCE: (Singing) Girls.

BEARDSLEY: Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RUN THE WORLD (GIRLS)")

BEYONCE: (Singing). This mother. Girls, who run the world. Girls. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.