Mercurial captain Megan Rapinoe struck a 61st-minute penalty before Rose Lavelle netted a fine solo goal as the United States beat Netherlands 2-0 to become Women’s World Cup winners for the fourth time.
Reign FC forward Rapinoe plundered her sixth goal of the tournament to ensure Jill Ellis’ side successfully defended their title at the expense of a Netherlands team that fought bravely to overcome their underdogs tag but ultimately came up short.
The goal, which came after a VAR review highlighted Stefanie van der Gragt’s foul on Alex Morgan, drew Rapinoe level with Morgan and England’s Ellen White in the goalscoring stakes, while Netherlands forward Lieke Martens cut a frustrated figure as the Dutch struggled to create chances.
Lavelle provided the best moment of an entertaining clash in Lyon when she carried the ball from the centre circle to the edge of the box before producing a classy finish, the quality of which reflected everything crowds at this World Cup have come to expect from its dominant team.
The European champions certainly played their part but, perhaps fittingly after a tournament marked by the use of technology, the contest hinged on a challenge that might have gone unnoticed without it.