Women’s World Cup Final USA vs Netherlands: All you need to know

As USA sets out to defend its title against a spirited Dutch side, here are some of the biggest talking points ahead of the final of the women’s football show-piece in Lyon on Sunday.

USA NED

USA takes on Netherlands in the final of the FIFA Women's World Cup in Lyon on Sunday.   -  Getty Images

The United States is one game away from defending its World Cup title and the Netherlands is a game away from its second major win as they take each other on in the finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Sunday.

Here is everything you need to know ahead of the marquee clash.

FOLLOW LIVE: Women's World Cup: USA vs Netherlands

 

Road to the final:

USA: The defending champion bulldozed its way through the group stage of the tournament, starting with a 13-0 drubbing of Thailand in its WC opener. Sweden and Chile were sterner opponents but succumbed to the fiery American frontline, with the USA beating Chile 3-0 and Sweden 2-0, to set up a round-of-16 tie with Spain. 

This fixture was the first real test of the American defence which hadn’t been rattled at all in the group stage. Nevertheless USA took the game 2-1. In its quarterfinal tie against host France, Megan Rapinoe’s heroics helped seal a 2-1 victory. 

USA’s hardest fixture was its semifinal against the Lionesses. Going into the game sans Rapinoe, who sat out with a strained hamstring, the title holders scored quickly with Christen Press finding the net. Alex Morgan joined in with her sixth goal of the tournament. Ellen White’s sixth pegged one back for England but was not enough to deny the Americans a victory.

READ : Netherlands needs to stop US from scoring early in final

Netherlands: Coming in as the European champion is a lot of pressure but the Dutch have made quick work of their World Cup challenges. 

Netherlands began its campaign with a 1-0 victory over New Zealand, and despite seeing its goal breached by a spirited Cameroon side, went on to secure a 3-1 victory over the side as well. A 2-1 win over Canada set up a round-of-16 clash with Japan. 

A brace from Lieke Martens saw Netherlands through to quarters with a 2-1 win over the Nadeshiko. The Dutch powered through with a 2-0 win over Italy to meet Sweden in the semifinal. After a stalemate for 99 minutes of the game, Jackie Groenen netted one to give the Dutch the lead and eventually the game.

READ : Underdog status suits Netherlands just fine, says Wiegman

Key points:

This is America’s fifth appearance in a World Cup final, two more than any other nation.

USA is also the first country to reach three-straight finals.

If USA wins on Sunday, it will join Germany as the only two countries to win back-to-back World Cup championships.

USA has scored 24 goals so far in this tournament (double the next closest team). Netherlands is third on that table, having scored 11 goals in the tournament so far.

The sides have played each other seven times, with the Americans leading with 6 wins. USA has scored 25 goals in these encounters compared to Netherlands’ six.

US had a record 11 straight WC match wins and 12 straight wins across all competitions. It has kept eight clean sheets in those 12 games.

The Netherlands’ is on a 10-game unbeaten streak across all competitions and has conceded only four goals in this stretch.

Two more goals will see United States set a new record for most goals scored in a Women’s World Cup.

Sarina Wiegman (NED) and Jill Ellis (USA) have a unique statistic before them as they battle it out for the title. This is the second time two female coaches will compete in the final. The last time was in 2003 when Tina Theune-Meyer's Germany beat Marika Domanski-Lyfors' Sweden.


100

Key facts: USA vs Netherlands   -  Graphic News



Injury update: 

Megan Rapinoe (USA): Rapinoe did not feature in the semifinal against England after straining her hamstring but was seen training ahead of the final. She has expressed confidence to be fit for the final and one will expect to see her start in Lyon.

Lieke Martens (NED): Martens hurt her toe while celebrating her goal in the game against Japan and it has given her trouble since. She featured in the semifinal against Sweden and was taken off owing to discomfort. She has been training separately since and a final call will be made about her involvement in the final before the game. The Barcelona player seems confident to make the playing XI though.

READ : Morgan says U.S. likely to make a team decision on Trump invite

What to look out for

Golden Boot chance for Alex Morgan? The American co-captain has six goals to her name, level with England’s Ellen White. A goal today will see her lead the goal-scorers table, unless Megan Rapinoe (who has five goals) decides to go berserk. 

Where do they play and when

The final of the World Cup will be held at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais at 8.30pm IST. The match will be televised in India on Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 2 HD. Alternatively, fans can also live stream the game on Sony LIV.