Megan Rapinoe strikes her pose upon receiving Golden Boot

Megan Rapinoe struck her popular celebratory pose upon receiving the Golden Boot at the Women’s World Cup.

Rapinoe scored on a penalty in the 61st minute of the U.S.’ 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Sunday in France. The goal put the U.S. up 1-0 and gave Rapinoe six goals on the tournament.

Rapinoe finished tied with teammate Alex Morgan and England’s Ellen White for the tournament lead in goals scored. She and Morgan tied on the next tiebreaker since each had three assists. Rapinoe received the Golden Boot based on scoring her six goals in fewer minutes played than Morgan.

When she was called up to get her trophy, she did the same pose she struck after a goal against France earlier in the tournament.

Megan Rapinoe: pic.twitter.com/64dLVdrGOY

— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) July 7, 2019

There isn’t much better for a soccer player than taking home the Golden Boot the same day you win the World Cup.

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By: Larry Brown

FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinals takeaways and power rankings

Photo by PA Images/Sipa USA

Media and fans: “The United States vs. France is the real Final of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.” England: “Nah, football’s coming home.” Off the right foot of American icon and “President ” Megan Rapinoe, the U.S. got through its toughest test, tournament hosts France, with relative ease considering a third goal was controversially removed from the scoreboard. The Three Lionesses will want to show they’re more than a mere stepping stone standing in the way of the Americans’ union with destiny.

Sweden scoring two goals in a single game while facing actual competition was a bet worth avoiding following the Round of 16. The fact the Blue and Yellow achieved such a feat against Germany, the tournament’s best team at the start of the quarterfinals, is downright astonishing, but that victory came with what could be a massive loss. That surprising match outcome only bolsters an opinion held by American optimists back on June 1:

This World Cup is the United States’ to lose.

Australia got jobbed

Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA

There’s a sad irony in Norway surrendering three goals to England on June 27 considering a trio of decisions aided The Grasshoppers past Australia in the Round of 16. No disrespect meant to the side missing protesting Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg, but Norway was nearly run off the pitch before halftime of its quarterfinal showdown with England, and neutrals were left wishing Sam Kerr and the Matildas were, instead, serving as the opposition. England likely would’ve toppled Australia and maybe scored four or five facing that lackluster back line. Unless you’re a Norway supporter, you’re lying to yourself if you believe the right team advanced to the Round of Eight to lose to the Three Lionesses.

Best in the world?

Martin Richard/Presse Sports via USA TODAY Sports

“Lucy Bronze is the best player in the world, without a shadow of a doubt,” England boss Phil Neville said in the post-match interview following his side’s victory over Norway, as noted by the BBC. Neville isn’t alone in sharing that opinion. The 27-year-old, two-time PFA Women’s Player of the Year winner produced a masterclass performance in the quarterfinals, delivering one of the tournament’s top hammer-strikes and ensuring she will receive an opportunity to shut down Megan Rapinoe on the biggest stage of them all. Bronze vs. Rapinoe could be worth the price of admission on its own.

Clean

Photo by PA Images/Sipa USA

One’s immediate reaction to the Netherlands pitching a shutout in its 2-0 win over Italy on Saturday may be to point out the Azzurre aren’t necessarily known for their attacking flair and also that oppressive heat which caused multiple stoppages for hydration breaks limited both sides. That’s fair, but Holland’s first clean sheet of the World Cup came against a side that put two past Australia, scored five times against Jamaica and turned a knockout game vs. China into a makeshift exhibition for the final half-hour of that contest. Italy had no answer for forward Lineth Beerensteyn once she came on 11 minutes after the break. She won multiple free kicks and reminded the remaining three teams she may be the best substitute option left in the tournament.

Still waiting

Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA

Perhaps we’re all being harsh on the Dutch in criticizing the fact they’ve hardly played like European champions since June 11. Each of the remaining three nations have, however, enjoyed standout games. The United States beat Thailand 13-0 and bested France at the Parc des Princes. England made light work of Norway. The Swedes are the new upset darlings of the tournament. Italy hardly troubled the Oranje, but a Holland attack advertised as one of the world’s elite continues to underwhelm. A pair of set piece goals against Italy doesn’t inspire too much confidence. Then again, if it’s true Holland’s best is to come, that team is probably winning this World Cup.

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By: Zac Wassink

 

Women’s World Cup 2019: Here are the top 10 players to watch in France

There’s no question the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will bring a talented field as 24 nations are set to compete for one title.

But with 552 players making the trip to France, it begs the question – who are the players to watch when the tournament gets underway Friday?

Let’s take a look at 10 players who are sure to make an impact:

Christine Sinclair – Canada, forward

After spending more than 19 years on Canada’s national team, Sinclair brings an enormous amount of experience to this year’s World Cup. She’s Canada’s all-time leading scorer and she sits second on the women’s all-time scoring list with 181. She trails only American Abby Wambach (184), but that could change after France. Her impressive resume doesn’t stop there, though, as she is third all-time with 281 caps and she’s the only non-U.S. player with more than 225, according to Opta.

The forward has helped Canada fight for a spot on the world stage in each of the last four World Cups. This year’s tournament may be the 35-year-old Sinclair’s last chance to win the most coveted trophy in the sport.

https://twitter.com/ThornsFC/status/1114255624056057858

Other notable accomplishments:

  • Two-time CONCACF Women’s Best XI (2018, 2016)
  • 14-time Canadian Female Player of the Year (2000, 2004-14, 2016, 2018)
  • Two-time Olympic bronze medalist (London 2012, Rio 2016)
  • Golden Boot FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup (2004)
  • Golden Ball FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup (2002)
  • FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup All-Star Team (2002)

Alex Morgan – United States, forward

Morgan’s unique combination of athleticism, anticipation and technical ability has elevated her to the top of the game. Since joining the USWNT in 2010, she has scored 101 international goals (the sixth-most in U.S. history) in 163 caps. When she scored her 100th career USWNT goal earlier this year, she became the third-youngest player and fourth-fastest player to reach that feat.

Morgan played a major role in helping the U.S. make it to the World Cup in 2011 – where she was the youngest player on the national team – and then she led her nation to a championship in 2015. It’s hard to believe Morgan’s just 29 years old with all that she’s already accomplished. She’ll certainly be one to keep a close eye on in France as she continues to build her international resume.

https://twitter.com/FOXSoccer/status/1113982830676250624

Other notable accomplishments:

  • Olympic Gold Medal (2012)
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion (2015), Runner-up (2011)
  • FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Champion (2008)
  • Four Nations Tournament Champion (2011)
  • SheBelieves Cup (2016, 2018)
  • CONCACAF Women’s Champion (2014, 2018)

Marta – Brazil, forward

Marta Vieira da Silva has established herself as one of the greatest players the tournament has ever seen. She holds the record for most goals scored at Women’s World Cup tournaments with 15, sitting just ahead of Germany’s Birgit Prinz and the USA’s Abby Wambach, who both have 14. Marta has earned 110 international goals to make her Brazil’s leading scorer and she’s tied for seventh on the all-time scoring list. With high soccer intelligence, strength and speed, Marta is expected to carry Brazil through the 2019 tournament.

https://twitter.com/Weber514/status/608429484845449216

Other notable accomplishments:

  • Two Pan American Games titles (2003, 2007)
  • Three-time Sudamericano Femenino Champion (2003, 2010, 2018)
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup Runner-up (2007)
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Ball (2007)
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Shoe (2007)
  • Two-time Olympic silver medalist (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008)
  • Five-time winner of FIFA World Player of the Year (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Four-time Runner-up of FIFA World Player of the Year (2005, 2011, 2012, 2014)
  • Copa Libertadores de Futbol Femenino Golden Ball (2009)
  • U-20 World Cup Golden Ball (2004)

Megan Rapinoe – United States, forward

Veteran Rapinoe is another key player the Americans will rely on to be a strong playmaker. After joining the U.S. national team in 2006, she quickly became known for her crafty style of play on the international level. She has been a consistent scorer with 44 goals in 153 caps, and she’s known for coming up with big assists as she ranks fifth in USWNT history with 57.

One of her most memorable plays came when she delivered a 45-yard cross to Abby Wambach in the 122nd minute of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinals in Brazil. Wambach then scored off a header, which eventually led to a win for the Americans.

Other notable accomplishments:

  • FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion (2015), Runner-up (2011)
  • Olympic gold medalist (London 2012)
  • Four Nations Tournament Champion (2011)
  • SheBelieves Cup Champion (2018)
  • CONCACAF Women’s Champion (2014, 2018)

Sam Kerr – Australia, forward

Kerr has emerged as Australia’s first marquee player and she’s only going to bring more attention to the sport in her nation. She was only 15 years old when she made her international debut in a match against Italy in February 2009. From there, she continued to flourish, scoring 31 goals in 77 appearances. While playing in the National Women’s Soccer League – where she currently represents the Chicago Red Stars – Kerr has been the league’s leading scorer in each of the last two seasons.

Kerr, 25, may be young, but she will be powerful in France.

Other notable accomplishments:

  • Tournament of Nations Champion (2017)
  • Cup of Nations Champion (2019)
  • AFC Women’s Asian Cup Champion (2010)
  • AFF U-16 Women’s Champion (2009)

Full List

By: Chelsea Howard

Meet the 2019 U.S. Women’s World Cup Team

The women of the United States soccer team are looking to repeat as World Cup champions. If they pull off the double, becoming the second women’s team to do so after Germany did it in 2003 and 2007, some of these ladies will become household names — well, several of them already are. Let’s meet the 2019 U.S. women’s World Cup team in order of jersey number.

1. Alyssa Naeher

At the last World Cup, Hope Solo was the star in net. No longer on the team, somebody had to step into her cleats, and that job has fallen to Naeher. The Penn State alum and former NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, Naeher has been the No. 1 goalie for the U.S. since Solo left the squad, and she’s been up to the task so far.

2. Mallory Pugh

Meet the next star of U.S. women’s soccer. Pugh is only 21, but the striker already has 16 goals for the national team in 53 caps. Granted, they’ve almost all come in friendlies, but she got in three games during the 2016 Olympics. She’s not ready to be the top striker yet, but don’t be surprised if she makes an impact.

3. Sam Mewis

Mewis, a midfielder, and her sister, Kristie, played together in the 2008 U-17 World Cup, the first sisters to do that for the United States. Alas, Kristie isn’t on this year’s World Cup team, but Sam is. This will be her first major tournament, unless you are a Tournament of Nations fan. She’s won two titles with her NWSL team. Will she taste World Cup victory as well?

4. Becky Sauerbrunn

Sauerbrunn is one of the old heads of this team. The 34-year-old has 158 caps, and this will be her third Women’s World Cup. She started every game at the 2015 World Cup, but will she be able to handle that kind of workload at this point? Her former teammate Christie Pearce played in the finals of 2015 at 40. Sauerbrunn is basically a spring chicken in comparison.

5. Kelly O’Hara

O’Hara and Sauerbrunn are teammates with the Utah Royals as well as with the national team. The 30-year-old is versatile, playing at wing and midfielder for the United States and forward and defense for her club squad. O’Hara has scored only two goals for the U.S., but one of them came in the semifinals of the 2015 Women’s World Cup against Germany.

Brian was a beast in college, winning the Hermann Trophy, college soccer’s equivalent of the Heisman, in 2013 and 2014. That led to her being the top pick in the 2015 NWSL Draft. The midfielder dealt with a head injury in 2018, but she’s healthy now and should be primed to contribute at this year’s World Cup.

7. Abby Dahlkemper

Dahlkemper hasn’t had a chance to compete in a World Cup or Olympics yet, as she didn’t get her first cap until October of 2016. However, she’s only 26, so there’s plenty of time for her. The year 2018 was big for her, as she appeared in a few tournaments with the U.S. and also made the Best XI of the NWSL and was the league’s Defender of the Year in 2017. She’s the kind of player who could help ease the strain for the veterans on the team’s defense.

8. Julie Ertz

Ertz is about to make things tough for attacking players on opposing teams. Since being moved into a defensive midfielder role, her tenacity has made things miserable for opponents. Her play has also earned her the honor of being named the U.S. Women’s Soccer Player of the Year. If her last name sounds familiar, it’s because she’s married to Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles.

9. Lindsey Horan

Full List 

By: Chris Morgan