When a World Cup novice is faced with a foe as experienced and ruthless as the USWNT, the outcome is almost inevitable and so it was on a muggy afternoon in Lyon when the reigning world champion defended its title with a comfortable 2-0 win over the Netherlands.
Competing in its first World Cup final, few gave the Dutch hope. The reigning European champion it may be, but it had not yet come up against the best team in the world, the dominant force of its generation.
The Netherlands held on for over an hour but two goals within eight minutes sealed the underdog’s fate. In a tournament where she has transcended her sport, Megan Rapinoe coolly drilled home a penalty before a Rose Lavelle thunderbolt made sure of a second successive title for the US.
All dynasties eventually fall apart, but the US’ reign has yet no true challenger.
This is the World Cup where it became apparent that the USWNT is being rapidly pursued by those European countries whose men’s national teams have long since been a force.
Leading the chase is the Netherlands, European champion and a finalist in just its second World Cup, which is part of a pack, but all challengers have been vanquished.
Thailand, Chile, Sweden, Spain, France, England and now the Netherlands have all swept aside by a team which is now unbeaten in 17 World Cup matches.