Women’s World Cup Final: USA v Netherlands
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Women’s World Cup Final: USA v Netherlands

November 4, 2019

The first Women’s World Cup final sees defending
champions USA take on European Championship winners the Netherlands. Jill Ellis’ USA, who are looking to secure
a fourth World Cup with victory in Lyon’s Parc Olympique Lyonnais, have never finished
outside the top three at a World Cup, while the Netherlands are participating in only
their second World Cup ever, having reached the Round of 16 in Canada 2015. The USA are
firm favourites, but the Netherlands, coached by Sarina Wiegman, will be eager to prove
their doubters wrong. You can track squad news for the Final, see
the teams’ progression, and follow the game as it happens on the OneFootball app. Can anyone stop the USA’s front line? Captain
Alex Morgan currently leads the goal-scoring charts, with six, while Megan Rapinoe, who
sat out the semi-final against England, has five. The USA also have Carli Lloyd on three
goals and three players who’ve scored two, though these figures are padded somewhat by
the result against Thailand. Nonetheless, in Morgan and Rapinoe, Jill Ellis’s side
have prolific scorers and, even when Rapinoe was benched, Christen Press stepped in to
score against the Lionesses. The forward line do three key things that
make them, and Team USA, extremely hard to play against, notwithstanding the fact that
they are also extremely quick and dynamic with and without the ball. Firstly, they can set a tempo for the USA’s
pressing game that makes it hard to play out. There’s a strong argument that Press is
better at, well, pressing than Rapinoe. Against a side like the Netherlands, who may try to
play out through Bloodworth in particular, it makes sense to pick the Utah Royals winger,
who was so effective at stymying England’s build-up. Because of the pace and ability to cut inside
that Tobin Heath, Rapinoe, and Press all have, it also leaves opposition full-backs with
a decision to make – push up to support attacks and offer a passing option, in which
case there’s space in behind for the quick USA wingers, or hang back, in which case they
will drop off and then have time to receive the ball in space and then run with it. The USA front three don’t just make space
for themselves, either. It’s noticeable, especially when the USA have a free kick in
the middle third, but also in build-up, that the two central midfielders who flank Julie
Ertz push up between the lines. Two of Lavelle, Mewis, and Horan can and will make late runs,
even pushing beyond the front three, but it’s the front three’s movement and the danger
they pose that puts defences into two minds and facilitates this exploitation of space
– either the centre-backs will follow the front line, creating room in behind, or leave
them, which means the line between defence and midfield is totally overloaded and the
USA can pass their way through. While Morgan, Rapinoe and the others get headlines
for their goals, their contribution to defence and build-up will be just as important. The midfield area will be tightly contested
– even if both teams seek to bypass it with longer passing, then late runs from central
midfield could be the key to unlocking two good defences. In this area of the pitch,
perhaps no midfielder at the World Cup has impressed as much as converted centre-back
Julie Ertz. While others have caught the eye with goals or assists, Ertz has given a masterclass
in defensive positioning, screening, and intelligent use of the ball, the solid base that allows
the rest of the USA team to attack. Against Ertz, who will be helped by the other
two central midfielders picked by Jill Ellis, Sherida Spitse and Jackie Groenen will seek
to dominate for the Netherlands. While van de Donk does drop back, she plays much more
as a 10 – Spitse is a 6, while Groenen’s role is to link play, cover a huge amount
of ground on the right hand side, and help win back the ball. The danger for the Netherlands is that Ertz
shackles Groenen, which forces van de Donk to drop off to help link midfield to the front
three, thereby denying Vivianne Miedema support. It would also mean that the Netherlands right
wing has to come infield more, allowing Crystal Dunn greater room to attack. Groenen is absolutely key to how the Netherlands
progress the ball – Spitse does not have the same ability in open play – and Ertz
will look to limit her influence. The degree to which she succeeds will go a long way to
determining the outcome. The Netherlands have not been as free-scoring
as the USA – Miedema leads their scoring charts with three goals, while Lieke Martens
has two. At the top of the assists chart, though, is Sherida Spitse, whose prowess from
set-pieces is a potent weapon in the Dutch arsenal. According to Statsbomb’s set piece expert
Nikos Overheul, the key is Spitse’s delivery. She can hit the ball in a straight line over
long distances with pace and accuracy. This allows the best Dutch headers of the ball,
Miedema and defenders like van der Gragt, to be positioned far from the point of delivery.
As Overheul points out, this means that against zonal defences, who will usually stack their
best headers of the ball nearer the point of delivery, Spitse’s delivery allows Miedema
to target the zone further away, where the weaker defenders are. A good example was the corner against Sweden
where Miedema hit the bar, helped by a Lindhal finger-tip. Spitse’s delivery, hit straight
but dropping, means that Miedema’s movement need only be minimal to give her a free header
– the ball effectively drops onto her, while Sweden’s best defenders have been bypassed,
and weaker aerial defenders like Asllani are sucked towards the flight of the ball and
misread it. Against a strong USA team who will likely
be on the front foot, but whose keeper Alyssa Naeher is only 5ft9 and can struggle to command
her box, Spitse’s set-piece delivery could be the key to creating chances for the imperious
Miedema to convert. As Gracenote, the sports analysts, have observed,
the Netherlands are the first team ranked outside the top four by FIFA to reach a World
Cup final since Brazil in 2007, and the lowest ranked team to play in the final since FIFA
World rankings were introduced in 2003. The USA will be heavy favourites and clearly
justify that tag, but the Netherlands have shown over the course of the tournament they
are capable of maximising their strengths. Whether that will be enough to overcome Morgan
and her side in Lyon remains to be seen.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. I’m really enjoying other countries starting to take women’s football a bit more seriously with leagues and finances to back it up. Seeing more traditional soccer/football countries start to become legitimate contenders is better for making the women’s World Cup feel like a grand event. I will be cheering for my USA (despite not liking some of Ellis’ tactics and squad selection tendencies over the years), but I wish the Netherlands luck.

  2. Awesome analysis, great video as always. I hope the Netherlands play up to their potential, I feel like both Sweden and the Netherlands played too reserved in the semi-final

  3. i just hope that neatherland has enough sense to start the match in a defensive setup, because US always go hard and get a goal with in the first 10min.

  4. Alex Morgan – damn, she's fine. Pretty good footballer aswell, better than Jesse Lingard! ? and loved it when she put England out, her having a Welsh surname and all.

    Come on U.S.A ?

  5. Okay off topic, but why Rapinoe is complaining about the prize money not being same as men's, there is a very logical reason about it, men's gets more viewer, more people care about it to buy the merchandise and there are better brand dealing in there.
    It's like Youth UCL players starts saying why are our prize worths less then senior team, its just stupid argument and its going for too long.
    Only reason people are on board with it because its that "men's vs women's" "wage gap shit" "we are being mistreated"

  6. Ertz gets no recognition from the common american fan, so it's nice to see Tifo giving her some recognition. Great player.

  7. I Genuinely want Netherlands to win and trashed USA and shut their Arrogant big whinny mouth. They celebrate trashing semi amateur team like winning the entire tournament, provocative celebration against England and just now they demand Copa America and Gold Cup Finals to be held on different day.

  8. I hope it not another four years before we talk about womens football, because that'll be bad. Womens football has to be the driving topic daily, its about breaking assumptions and normalising that women are involved in football.

  9. Tobin Heath is the key for the US today I think. She can break a defense with one pass and if she isn't marked well she can service Rapinoe, Morgan et al fantastically.

  10. Wow womens football is pathetic.. Put on 15 year old boys and they will smash them… pathetic feminst crap!

  11. I'm going to do things a bit differently here:

    USA to beat The Netherlands, 4-2 …like

    The Netherlands to beat the USA 4-2 …comment

    Have fun;-)

  12. 3:52 why should van de sanden (if she plays) go to the middle? she would stay near the side line, and they would use her speed. so when the USA back would go forward, she would use the space to outpace her.

  13. As a neutral I hope that The Netherlands stuff it up the Americans today: this USA team has been just a little too arrogant and full of themselves during the tournament and it would be nice to see them taken down a peg or two. But I don’t think it will happen as I have to give credit to the USA, as they are indeed the best team in the world and in this World Cup.

  14. Womens football has come along way, I remember Mia Hamm and the beginning of the professional sport for women. The semis were top notch games.

  15. Regardless of the outcome, the USA women's team is the best in the world.
    When will the rest of the world catch up the USWNT? This is especially relevant when you look at how poor the USMNT performs internationally (regardless of the gold cup outcome)

  16. How do you not have any Latina's playing in the USA women soccer team, it's not surprising in the era of Trump, but really disappointing, everyone know's Mexicans and other Latinos love soccer, It's so like you EuroAmericans to be exclusive as if that is your sport, More diversity in Women's USA soccer team, I call bullshit!! Love Megan thou!

  17. All I'm watching is all refs not calling many penalties against the Netherlands. The USA has dominated this first half and it should be 3-0 USA had the ref called a fare game.

  18. As if the Dutch are not done fucking up the justice system…they wanna fuck sports as well …

  19. For the Netherlands to say team USA has already put them second before the game makes them ignorant is plain stupidity. Any team put the other team second lol. I would love to hear the Netherlands say before any game the other team is number #1 and we are second. Plain stupid

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  21. Oh no they did it again I mean Oh yes they did it again of course they did Mama there good those Women ?Champs forever!!!!!!!!!

  22. Not sure VAR works in the women’s game. Too many soft penalties completely ruining any competition.

    Spain vs USA was a good game until VAR awarded the states two stupidly soft penalties, same again today. The yanks weren’t scoring without being gifted penalties.

    Morgan didn’t have control of the ball , it literally hit her in the stomach and she winced just as much from that as she did the player kicking her, she didn’t control it or even have her eyes open and it’s a penalty.

    If you have played the game you will understand that’s not a penalty in a million years.

    In slo mo tho on the var it does always look worse so they get given, but in real time it’s just a tiny bit of contact in a game that is a contact sport.

    VAR ruined that tournament for most parts, not in the decisions it gave, but in the players understand that those decisions would be given , if they got a tiny touch on the ball, then go down, as the Americans did time and time again.

    Real shame as unfortunately the team that ended up winning were far from the best.

    But yes oh well. Back to the premier league… enjoy be MLS…

  23. “Glory supporter” is obviously not a phrase in America. 🙂

    Thought “soccer” was rubbish..

    Glad to see you lot have finally swallowed your pride and admitted that FOOTBALL is the greatest sport.

  24. I always thought men's soccer was the most boring sport in the world
    but I was completely wrong, ….. women's soccer is even more boring.
    I would have watched but I spent that time watching paint dry instead.
    And how in the HELLL does the US end up in the finals against a tiny little
    country like the Netherlands ? 90 % of Americans didn't even know the
    Netherlands was still a country until this weekend.

    EVERY interesting sport has it's roots in the US and I wonder if
    Europe will ever discover or understand American football and baseball.
    I guess counting scores higher than 2, makes it too complicated
    for Europeans(?)

  25. THANK YOU so much for bringing up the contrast between Rapinoe & Christen Press, which many people seem to not even acknowledge. Rapinoe's supposed "hamstring injury" before the England game might have been the best thing that happened for us. Bronze would have DOMINATED that game if Rapinoe was in there; no way she would have tracked back even half as much as Press did. Dunn would have been overrun on our left side, and that game could have turned out very differently…

  26. do you have any recommendations for writers/articles/websites/podcasts/whatnot that give tactical insight into the women's game? (particularly the NWSL since i'm from canada :x)

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