The U.S. will attempt to win its fourth Women’s World Cup title Sunday in France. Follow along for live updates.
How to watch | Pregame reading
by Emily Giambalvo in Chicago
And we’re off
The U.S. women’s national team has begun its pursuit of a fourth World Cup championship and its second straight title, while the Netherlands is playing in its first final. Neither team has trailed at any point during this World Cup, but the U.S. is heavily favored in this match. Since the Women’s World Cup began in 1991, the Americans have played in five of the eight finals.
Americans Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe are in the race for the Golden Boot, given to the tournament’s top goal-scorer. Morgan enters the final with six goals, five of which came in the opening match against Thailand, while Rapinoe has scored five times. The Netherlands’ top scorer in France is Vivianne Miedema, who comes into the final with three goals.
The teams will compete in front of a packed Lyon Olympic Stadium, which is dominated by U.S. fans. It’s another hot day in France with temperatures nearing 90 degrees at kickoff. American midfielder Megan Rapinoe and Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal are the captains for this game.
In pregame video, Dutch thank USWNT
A pregame hype video released by the Dutch national team featured scenes of American soccer and the stars of this national team. The clip that aired during Fox’s pregame show said, “You proved to us that dreams do come true. Thanks for that,” before shifting to a burst of Dutch highlights. Watch it here:
The starting lineups are out
Megan Rapinoe is back in the lineup for the U.S. after missing the semifinal game against England with a minor hamstring strain. She joins Birgit Prinz of Germany as the only players in tournament history to start in three finals, according to Fox Sports.
Rose Lavelle, who left the last game in the 65th minute due to a hamstring injury, is also back in the starting 11. In the midfield, Lavelle is joined by Julie Ertz and Samantha Mewis, while Lindsey Horan will start the game on the bench.
It’s the same starting lineup Jill Ellis called upon in Americans’ highly anticipated quarterfinal match against France. The U.S. won that game, 2-1, with Rapinoe scoring both goals. Ellis also chose this starting 11 for the first game of the knockout round, a 2-1 victory over Spain.
For the Dutch, star Lieke Martens will start. Martens has played in all six games and scored twice in the tournament, but the forward had to leave the semifinal against Sweden at halftime with a toe injury.
Setting the stage
by Steven Goff in Lyon, France
The United States carries high standards into every Women’s World Cup. Anything short of an appearance in the championship match is regarded as an epic failure.
And so when the Americans were locked in tight games at each step of the knockout phase this summer, there were genuine questions about whether this squad would make it Sunday’s final and continue its quest for a fourth championship.
Each time they were tested, though, the Americans responded. This marks a record third consecutive time — and fifth since the tournament was founded in 1991 — that they find themselves in the title game. Narrow victories over Spain, France and England secured passage.
The United States is expected to win by multiple goals, thanks to experience, depth and darn-good players. In their second World Cup, the Dutch have a bright future but seem a little ahead of their time.
If you’re looking for an early indicator, watch the clock. The Americans have taken the lead within 12 minutes of every match here. A Dutch stand would thicken the plot. Conversely, a quick U.S. goal could open the floodgates.
The teams will perform before an expected sellout of more than 53,000 — many of whom traveled here from the United States.
Regardless of the outcome, the match is a victory for one particular cause: Both coaches are female, the first time that’s occurred since 2003.
“It’s a wonderful statement,” U.S. boss Jill Ellis said on the eve of the match. “There aren’t enough of us coaching in the game. We need more. There are a lot of young women and former players who want to coach. To see coaches doing it is really important.”
What you need to know
When: Sunday, 11 a.m. Eastern.
Where: Stade de Lyon in Decines-Charpieu, France.
TV: Fox, Telemundo.
Streaming: Fox Sports, Telemundo Deportes.
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