The United States successfully defended its title by winning the 2019 Women’s FIFA World Cup. The event doubled as the European qualifier for the women’s tournament. The three highest ranked European nations qualified to the Olympics. Additionally, while both England and Scotland qualified to the World Cup, only England was eligible to qualify Great Britain to the Olympics. The Women’s World Cup was held across nine stadiums in France from June 7th to July 7th 2019.
The 24-team tournament contained nine European teams, including Scotland. The teams were split into six groups of four teams with the top 2 and the four best ranked third place teams advancing. Overall, Europe showed its continental strength by going 16-2-3 against non-European teams with their three losses coming from Italy’s 1-0 loss to Brazil, Scotland’s 2-1 loss to Japan and Sweden’s 2-0 loss to the United States. Additionally, five European teams; France, Germany, Italy, England and Netherlands all finished atop of their groups while the United States won Group F. Norway, Spain and Sweden finished second in Groups A, B and F respectively while Scotland finished fourth in Group D and was eliminated.
Interestingly, the Round of 16 contained eight European vs. non-European matches. As with the group stage the European teams dominated the competition winning 7 out of the 8 matches. Though both Norway and France had to work extra for their wins as Norway defeated Australia 4-1 in penalty kicks after tying 1-1 while France needed extra time to score their second goal against Brazil. The only European team to lose in this round was Spain whom lost 2-1 to the United States.
The United States’ 2-1 quarterfinal victory over France meant the winners of the other three quarterfinals qualified to the Olympics. Earlier, England won 3-0 against Norway to qualify Great Britain. The other two matches saw the Netherlands score two goals in the second half to defeat Italy 2-0 while Sweden came back from a 1-0 deficit against Germany to win 2-1.
With Olympic qualification out of the way all that was left was to crown the world champion. In the semi-finals the United States and England traded goals over a ten-minute period, but it was Alex Morgan’s 31st minute goal that brought the United States to its third straight World Cup final. In the other match, Netherlands and Sweden remained scoreless after 90 minutes. In extra time, it was Jackie Groenen whom scored in the 99th minute to give the Netherlands its first finals appearance.
The final between the United States and the Netherlands saw Megan Rapinoe of the United States score the first goal in the 61st minute via a penalty kick to assure that she won the golden boot. The United States won the final 2-0 thanks to Rose Lavelle’s 69th minute goal. Sweden won the bronze medal, defeating England 2-1.
This is the United States fourth overall title at the women’s World Cup. Additionally, this was the only opportunity for European teams to qualify to the Olympics in the women’s tournament. The next continent to have its qualifier will be Africa in early 2020.