The United States is just one step away from winning its second consecutive Women’s World Cup, but will have to deal with the reigning European champions when they take on the Netherlands in Sunday’s final.
While the matchup may not be as tantalizing on paper as the USA’s earlier clashes with France and England, the Dutch should still post a challenge to the defending champions, and are confident that they have a real chance of lifting the trophy.
European Champions Rising in Soccer World
The Netherlands has plenty of reason to feel upbeat heading into the final. The team has been just about perfect so far in the tournament, with the only minor blemish being the fact that they needed extra time to secure victory in the semifinal vs. Sweden. They won the 2017 European championships and shared the 2018 Algarve Cup title with Sweden.
In other words, the Dutch side has been doing a lot of winning in recent years, and while even they have expressed surprise at their run to the final at times, they have little more to prove in the world of soccer other than bringing home a World Cup trophy.
“I love [being the underdog],” Netherlands midfielder Danielle van de Donk told reporters after the win over Sweden. “I think it’s the best role you can be in. I like it. I’ve always been the underdog. I think I got used to it.”
Midfielder Jackie Groenen, who scored the winning goal against Sweden, took a more measured tact, recognizing that beating the three-time Women’s World Cup champions would be a challenge.
“We watched the USA game against England and of course they are a really strong team,” Groenen told reporters. “It is one more match and we could be world champions. It will be difficult but it will be incredible to win.”
USA Not Taking World Cup for Granted
Meanwhile, the United States has dismissed the idea that winning the final will be a simple task. In between continuing to answer questions about goal celebrations and a perception that the team is arrogant, the Americans have praised their Dutch opponents, saying that they must be prepared for a team that has grown into a world power.
“We have seen them play really well throughout this whole tournament and their team has just been growing and growing over the past couple of years,” US midfielder Sam Mewis told CBS News. “I think it’s going to be a really exciting game.”
The Netherlands is more than capable of scoring goals, even against a team as talented as the United States. But it may have to open up the match more than it did against Sweden to do so, and that will leave the Dutch vulnerable to counterattacks, and the Americans have proven time and time again that they can pounce on any opportunity.
Put it all together, and the United States is a deserving favorite, though reputation might be inflating their odds just a bit. At FanDuel Sportsbook, the USA is now a -600 pick to win the Women’s World Cup, while the Netherlands can be backed at +400.