Football Features

Women’s World Cup final player ratings: Regal Rapinoe seals Golden Boot

By Ben Green

Published: 18:16, 7 July 2019

USA have been crowned Women’s World Cup champions after seeing off the Netherlands 2-0 in the France 2019 final. 

It was a tentative opening 45 minutes at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais with little separating the two nations going into half-time, save for a few sturdy saves from Sari Van Veenendaal in the Netherlands goal.

But that nervous energy wouldn’t last too long as Megan Rapinoe found a way through in the 61st minute, breaking the deadlock with a coolly struck penalty kick, before Rose Lavelle doubled the Stars and Stripes’ advantage less than 10 minutes later to confirm global silverware for Jill Ellis’ side.

And so, the curtains have now come down on France 2019, but how did the players rate in this eighth Women’s World Cup final?

USA

Alyssa Naeher – 6 – A spectator for large sections of the match, Naeher answered the few questions the Oranje asked of her. She came off her line well when the Netherlands did manage to find openings and played out from the back in fine fashion to kick-start attacks.

Kelley O’Hara – 6 – Played with her usual attacking threat during the first half, in which she showed plenty of desire to get forward and assist Heath, while also carrying out her defensive capabilities well. Unfortunate to come off at the interval due to injury.

Abby Dahlkemper – 7 – Had a difficult task in trying to keep up with the pacy Lineth Beerensteyn, and while her defensive frailties showed at times, she kept a nerve not to be lulled into another caution and showed confidence playing out from the back.

Becky Sauerbrunn – 7 – Tasked with keeping Beerensteyn and Vivianne Miedema quiet, Sauerbrunn, alongside Dahlkemper, formed a strong partnership to keep the Netherlands at bay and maintain their clean sheet.

Crystal Dunn – 7 – A consistent threat surging forward, Dunn produced another solid performance charging up and down the byline with insatiable energy and a positive attacking threat.

Julie Ertz – 8 – A tenacious and combative performance from Ertz, who anchored the midfield exceptionally well, and kept Miedema quiet for the majority of the match.

Rose Lavelle – 8 – Twinkle-toed and majestic, the midfield maestro was the creative heart in the centre of the pitch for USA, pulling the strings while aiding the attacking trident in the final third, and it was a very crisp finish to put her nation two to the good.

Samantha Mewis – 7 – Formed an integral part of Ellis’ central midfield triumvirate. Mewis was aggressive and strong alongside Lavelle and Ertz, breaking up play and procuring the ball as she went along.

Tobin Heath – 7 – Attacked with pace and purpose, Heath took a while to get into the match, but came alive after the restart and completed more dribbles than any player on the pitch.

Alex Morgan – 7 – Problematic and a real handful, Morgan was not able to provide the goalscoring threat that we have come to associate with her, but she performed her central forward duties commendably well.

Megan Rapinoe – 8 – Like Heath, it took some time for Rapinoe to get going, but once she found her rhythm she was a threat on the left, and showed tremendous composure to tuck away her penalty for the crucial opening goal.

Substitutions:

Ali Krieger (for O’Hara 45) – 7 – Came on for the second half and produced an experienced and matured display to help her nation over the line.

Christen Press (for Rapinoe 79) – 6 – Came on for the final 10 just to see the match out, allowing Rapinoe a well deserved standing ovation.

Carli Lloyd (for Heath 87) – N/A – Brought on for the closing minutes.

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The Netherlands

Sari Van Veenendaal – 8 – Demonstrated tremendous  dexterity and athleticism between the sticks to keep USA at bay for large spells of the match. Quite possibly the player of the match as she produced a number of fine saves.

Desiree van Lunteren – 6 – Had the ominous task of marking Rapinoe, and while she stood up to the challenge well for a good section of the game, the USA forward started to pick up as the minutes counted down.

Anouk Dekker – 7 – It was never going to be an easy task trying the thwart the attacking threat of USA, but for 60-odd minutes the Netherlands done just that and Dekker was essential to that initial resolute display, though ultimately as the game went on the champions started to turn on the charm.

Stefanie van der Gragt – 6 – Was having an exceptionally solid match up until the crucial moment of conceding the decisive penalty. Van der Gragt won more duels than any player on the pitch, but that loose leg was the turning point.

Dominique Bloodworth – 7 – Showed a grit and heart to get forward when the Netherlands mustered a semblance of an attacking threat, and produced a solid battle with Heath on the flank.

Jackie Groenen – 6 – Saw plenty of the ball for the Netherlands but struggled to really stamp her authority on the match as the USA midfield dictated the play.

Danielle Van De Donk – 6 – Tried to create openings and find space for the Dutch, but the USA midfield was far too dominant this afternoon.

Sherida Spitse – 8 – Picked up an early caution and it looked like another may follow as the match went on, such was the intensity of the game, but she kept an iron nerve and produced a valiant performance in the middle of the pitch.

Lineth Beerensteyn – 6 – Had a very difficult – and isolated – role up top, and while Beerensteyn had a few glittering moments of quality to turn the USA defence, it was not often enough to truly expose their vulnerabilities.

Vivianne Miedema – 7 – Another who demonstrated moments of world-class quality, but not often enough from the Netherlands fulcrum, though she did have to adapt her game playing further back and carried out her defensive duties well.

Lieke Martens – 5 – Looked shaky on the ball in the opening minutes, and it didn’t really get much better for Martens from there. There were, again, flashes of quality, but like her teammates, not enough to give Naeher much to think about.

Substitutions:

Jill Roord (for Martens 71) – 6 – Brought an intensity and energy but not enough in the end.

Shanice van de Sanden (for Dekker 73) – 6 – Like Roord she provided a new burst of energy but USA were too dominant at that stage.

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