Now that the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is over, Office Essentials’ resident football (that’s “soccer” to you and me) fanatics, Stuart Hultgren and Andrew Corns present their wrap-up of the tournament.
2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion – USA
2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Runner-Up – Netherlands
2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup 3rd Place – Sweden
Golden Boot Winner – Megan Rapinoe (USA)
- Megan Rapinoe finished the tournament with 6 goals, tied with teammate Alex Morgan and England’s Ellen White. Rapinoe ultimately won the award on the tiebreak of scoring her six goals in fewer minutes than the other two.
- Did You Know?
- 3 of Megan Rapinoe’s 6 goals were from penalty kicks! Can you say ice in the veins?
- 5 of Alex Morgan’s 6 goals were scored in the USA’s opening match against Thailand.
Player of the Tournament – Megan Rapinoe (USA)
- While Megan Rapinoe won the award for Player of the Tournament, you could make the case that she wasn’t even the standout performer for the USA (my pick for that is Rose Lavelle or Crystal Dunn).
Goalkeeper of the Tournament – Sari van Veenendaal (NED)
- Heading into Sunday’s Final, I had van Veenendaal level with Sweden’s Hedvig Lindahl as the best keepers in the tournament (Lindahl had just helped Sweden win the 3rd place game over England).
- That all changed after van Veenendaal kept her team in the match with several massive first half saves that kept the game scoreless at the break. Neither of the USA’s second half goals were the fault of the keeper and the Netherlands probably wouldn’t have even made the final if not for her heroics over the last month.
The goal of the Tournament – Lucy Bronze (ENG) v. Norway (Quarterfinals)
- Lucy Bronze, England’s world-class left-back, was one of the brightest stars in this year’s tournament and capped it off with this rocket from the edge of the box. It was the perfect combination or power, precision, and placement.
Match of the Tournament – France v. USA (Quarterfinals) or Norway v. Australia (Round of 16)
- France v. USA was the marquee matchup of the entire tournament and due to the draw after the Group Stage, these two sides met in the Quarterfinals. It lived up to expectation and as many predicted, the winner of that match ultimately won the tournament.
- While the USA v. France was the one most eyes were fixated on, Norway v. Australia in the Round of 16 delivered on the drama as well. It was the only matchup that went to penalty kicks after extra time and had spectators on the edge of their seat until the final kick.
Surprise Team of the Tournament – Italy (Lost to the Netherlands in Quarterfinals)
- Italy wasn’t highly touted coming into the tournament in large part down to how strong most of the nations in Europe were leading in. Italy emerged from the Group of Death by outlasting both Australia and Brazil to win their group. They fought hard to get past China in the Round of 16 before ultimately falling prey to a red-hot Netherlands team that was destined for the Final.
Most Disappointing Team of the Tournament – Canada (Lost to Sweden in Round of 16)
- Canada entered the tournament ranked #5 in the World and were expected to make the Quarterfinals at the very least. They got through a fairly pedestrian group unscathed and met their match in the Round of 16, losing to an impressive and battle-tested Sweden.
Key Stories Coming Out of Tournament
- While it didn’t dominate headlines in the Knockout Stage the way it did earlier, VAR was a point of contention from start to finish. It’s never advisable to test out such a new technology in a tournament of this magnitude and the confusion amongst the players and referees led to frequent confusion. It’ll get better, but this was not the best time to try and shoehorn it in.
Rose Lavelle’s arrival on the world stage
- Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath often get the credit being the ones that score the goals, but this tournament was all about the emergence of Rose Lavelle. She offers the Americans something unlike they’ve ever had in midfield with a grace to her dribbling that leaves defenders mesmerized. She capped off an exceptional month of play by getting better as the games got more important and scored one of the most memorable goals, a mazy run and sublime finish to put give USA a 2-0 lead in the Final.
Europe the most dominant continent, but USA still can’t be matched…yet
- The USA once again walked away with the trophy (that’s 2 in a row and 4 in total!), but Europe is closing the gap and quickly. Seven of the final eight teams in the tournament were from Europe and even teams like Denmark and Switzerland who outright missed the tournament are ranked in the top 20. With Europe’s top football clubs allowing their women’s team the platform and facilities to improve their skill, it’s only a matter of time before one of that continent’s best is victorious again (Germany is most recent winner in 2007). Keep your eyes on England and France in 4 years. They’ll both be more experienced and hungrier after coming so close to glory.