Youth and experience blend in USA's successful title defence

Youth and experience blend in USA's successful title defence
  • Perfect balance of talent wins World Cup for USA
  • Megan Rapinoe says this is her best World Cup yet
  • Julie Ertz moved by emotional journey

By with USA

After the match and after the celebrations, Julie Ertz was overcome by emotion. She fell to her knees, realising exactly what she and her team-mates had just accomplished and everything they had to go through to get to that point.

The USA are back-to-back FIFA Women's World Cup™ champions, an incredible feat that few will ever accomplish in their lifetime.

But this squad was not the same as it was in 2015. In fact, only 12 of the players on this current squad were on the 2015 championship team.

USA on Sunday after a hard-fought battle between the two squads. The Americans eventually came out on top, propelled first by captain Megan Rapinoe's buried penalty kick in the 61st minute. Rapinoe, 34, became the oldest goalscorer in the history of the Women's World Cup final.

Rose Lavelle, the USA's 24-year-old midfield dynamo, added a remarkable solo strike in the 69th minute to give her side a secure lead. Contributions to the scoresheet from a budding USA star and an established one summed up the dynamic of this squad perfectly.

Rapinoe said winning this World Cup is different and better for her as a more senior player and as one of the captains.

“The cherry on top was little Rose [Lavelle] scoring today. It’s been a fantastic tournament for her,” Rapinoe said. “But everything, like [Ali Krieger] getting in and playing in a World Cup final after not being with the squad for two years, Christen Press’s celebration, Rose’s goal, Alyssa [Naeher’s] penalty save. It’s amazing, I don’t even have words.”

From day one the US have talked about the dynamic of this group and how it was great to have a mix of veteran players as well as youth. There is experience and there is also a sense of freshness that the new players bring, all while maintaining what they call the "USWNT culture" that has been passed down from generation to generation.

  • Julie Ertz of the USA celebrates

    07 Jul 2019

    LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: Julie Ertz of the USA celebrates following the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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    Megan Rapinoe of the USA celebrates with the FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy

    07 Jul 2019

    LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: Megan Rapinoe of the USA celebrates with the FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy following her team's victory in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

    © Getty Images

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    Players of the USA celebrate following their side's victory

    07 Jul 2019

    LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: Players of the USA celebrate following their side's victory in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

    © Getty Images

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  • Carli Lloyd of the USA lifts the FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy following her team's victory

    07 Jul 2019

    LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: Carli Lloyd of the USA lifts the FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy following her team's victory in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Maddie Meyer - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

    © Getty Images

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    Alex Morgan of the USA kisses the FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy

    07 Jul 2019

    LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: Alex Morgan of the USA kisses the FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy following her team's victory in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

    © Getty Images

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    Megan Rapinoe (adidas Golden Boot) and Alex Morgan (adidas Silver Boot) of the USA celebrate with their respective awards

    07 Jul 2019

    LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: Megan Rapinoe of the USA, golden ball and Alex Morgan of the USA, silver boot pose with their respective trophies after the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    © Getty Images

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  • Players of the USA lift the Women's World Cup Trophy

    07 Jul 2019

    LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: Players of the USA lift the Women's World Cup Trophy following the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

    © Getty Images

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    USA players celebrate in the confetti following their team's victory

07 Jul 2019

LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: USA players celebrate in the confetti following their team's victory in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

© Getty Images

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    Players of the USA celebrate with the trophy following victory