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USA beat Netherlands 2-0 to win fourth Women's World Cup title

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Carli Lloyd of the U.S. and team mates celebrate winning the women's world cup with the trophy.
Carli Lloyd of the U.S. and team mates celebrate winning the women's world cup with the trophy. -
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The current holders USA successfully defended their title after going 2-0 up in the second half with goals from Megan Rapinoe (pen) and then eight minutes later a rocket from Rose Lavelle put the tie beyond the Dutch. At half-time it was goalless but the USA took the initiative in the second period and never looked back.

Rapinoe also won the Golden Boot. Her strike from the spot saw her goal tally hit six, putting her level with compatriot Alex Morgan and English striker Ellen White - but Rapinoe achieved the haul in fewer minutes than the others and took home the coveted award.

The Dutch looked a beaten side when the second US goal went in, but they will get plenty of plaudits for reaching the final in such a hotly contested tournament.

Rapinoe, whose outspoken views have been so prominent throughout these finals, returned to the starting lineup after sitting out the semi-final win over England.

Her place in the side came at the expense of Christen Press while Dutch left-winger Lieke Martens was fit to play for the European champions after overcoming a toe injury.

Netherlands go toe to toe in first half

The Dutch made an aggressive start, with some strong challenges and midfielder Sherida Spitse picked up a booking in the 10th minute for a lunging challenge on Lavelle.

The U.S, who had scored in the opening 12 minutes of every previous game at this tournament, were struggling to settle as the Dutch harried and closed them down quickly.

The Netherlands looked to hit the Americans on the counter-attack and that approach almost bore fruit in the 26th minute when Vivianne Miedema released Lineth Beerensteyn through the middle but U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher was alert.

However, as the half wore on, the US gradually gained the upper hand and Dutch keeper Sari van Veenendaal did well to parry a fierce first-time drive by Julie Ertz just before the half hour.

Then Alex Morgan turned a low cross from Rapinoe goalwards and Van Veenendaal tipped the ball against the post before safely gathering it.

The pressure was mounting as Morgan brought the Dutch keeper into action again with a fine shot on the turn in the 40th.

US defender Kelley O'Hara had to be substituted at halftime, following a clash of heads with Martens, and Ali Krieger came on at right-back.

VAR strikes again

Encouraged by their first-half resilience, the Dutch stuck with the same tenacious approach after the break but their aggression proved to be their downfall.

Stefanie van der Gragt's foot caught Morgan's upper arm after a high challenge in the box and the American fell to the ground. After initially awarding a corner, the French referee turned to the video review and then gave a penalty.

Rapinoe took the responsibility and coolly slotted the ball past the almost stationary Van Veenendaal to bring to life the large American contingent in the capacity crowd of 57,900.

The game turns

Suddenly the U.S. were more relaxed and the Dutch appeared to lose not only their cohesion but also their energy.

Perhaps sensing that dip, Lavelle took the game directly to the Dutch - bursting out of midfield towards the heart of the defence and dropping her shoulder to the left before unleashing a sweet shot into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.

The Americans were suddenly swarming all over the Dutch, Tobin Heath, Morgan and Crystal Dunn all threatened to add a third goal.

If the Dutch were going to get back into the game a set-piece looked the most likely route and Spitse went close with a free-kick in the 80th minute that flashed just wide.

But that was their last attempt at making a comeback that, in truth, never looked likely.

The Americans had outlasted the Dutch and a fourth World Cup crown was theirs to celebrate, and French president Emmanuel Macron was there to shake hands with the players before the trophy was held aloft at the Groupama Stadium.

After four weeks, 51 matches played and 144 goals scored, the Women's World Cup has now finished.

Sweden secured the tournament's bronze medal on Saturday when they beat England 2-1.

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