The USA's women's national soccer team already had three World Cup victories when they rolled into Paris this time: 1991, 1999, and the last title in 2015. Many believed they had a good chance to repeat their title in 2019, but only Germany had ever won back-to-back women's titles, and even the most ardent supporters knew that back-to-back victories would not prove easy for the Americans.
But if you watched the US Women's Team soar to victory, you would be forgiven in thinking they made it look easy, never losing a game or trailing once in the entire tournament. The team - including Massachusetts native Sam Mewis - began the tournament with group play, where they clobbered the Thai team by a remarkable score of 13-0. They then finished the Group F stage with two shutouts, beating Chile 3-0 and Sweden 2-0.
In the elimination stage, the US began by beating Spain 2-1, and then eliminated host country France, 2-1. 2-1 was also the score at the end of their semifinals victory against England. And yesterday, for the ultimate prie, the US dominated the Netherlands with another 2-0 shutout. This second consecutive World Cup cemented this women's team as one of the most dominant teams in all of sports history, let alone soccer. (Which makes it all the more absurd how much less they are paid than the US Men's team, who are currently floundering in their own tournament.)
The goals in the final were scored by Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle and the defensive efforts ran all over the Dutch, who had never beaten the U.S. before. Rapinoe was already a lightning rod going into the World Cup, thanks to her refusal to participate in the national anthem, but it was her confidence and stellar performance this tournament that made her a household name. She scored six goals during the tournament, winning the Golden Boot - the award for the top goal-scorer, which this tournament was a three-way tie. She was just the second American to ever do so, joining 1999's Michelle Akers. Alex Morgan also scored six goals during the World Cup, earning her the Silver Boot. Carli Lloyd and Lavelle each scored five goals.
If you want to celebrate the women's dominance in the World Cup, a parade is being planned in their honor in New York City.
Image via Flickr / Jamie Smed