The United States retained the women’s World Cup on Sunday as a Megan Rapinoe penalty and a superb strike from Rose Lavelle gave the holders a 2-0 victory over a battling Netherlands side in Lyon.
USA went ahead just after the hour as Rapinoe stroked home from 12 yards to end the tournament as joint top scorer on six goals.
There was an air of inevitability about the pink-haired 34-year-old, the star of this World Cup on and off the field, putting the USA ahead.
It also seemed unavoidable that the breakthrough goal here should come from a VAR-awarded penalty, with French referee Stephanie Frappart initially giving a corner before pointing to the spot following a review.
The whippet-like Lavelle, got the second goal in the 69th minute, killing off Dutch hopes of a comeback.
The victory underlines the USA’s status as the dominant force in international women’s football as they claim the World Cup for the fourth time in eight editions.
They were already the first team to appear in three consecutive finals, and coach Jill Ellis becomes the first coach to win back-to-back World Cups in the men’s or women’s game since Italy’s Vittorio Pozzo in the 1930s.