The United States won its record fourth Women's World Cup title and second in a row, beating the Netherlands 2-0 Sunday night when Megan Rapinoe converted a penalty kick in the second half and Rose Lavelle added a goal, the AP reports. Rapinoe, the pink-haired US captain who grabbed world-wide attention on and off the field, scored in the 61st minute after a video review determined Stefanie van der Gragt had fouled Alex Morgan with a kick to the shoulder in the penalty area. Two days past her 34th birthday, Rapinoe slotted the ball past goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal for her 50th international goal, her sixth of the tournament to win the Golden Ball as scoring leader. The oldest player to score in a Women's World Cup final, she struck a familiar victorious pose with arms outstretched.
Lavelle, at 24 the team's up-and-coming star, added a goal on an 18-foot left-footed shot in the 69th after a solo run up the center of the field. With confidence and brashness that some called even arrogant—triggering a backlash that the angry response was sexist—this American team established a standard of excellence that will be a goal for other US teams and the rest of the world to match. They never trailed in the tournament and set records with 26 goals and a 12-game World Cup winning streak dating to 2015. US coach Jill Ellis became the first coach to lead a team to two Women's World Cup titles, and the US joined Germany in 2003 and 2007 as the only repeat champions. Fans, many dressed in red, white, and blue, chanted "Equal Pay!" at the final whistle, a reminder players sued the US Soccer Federation in March claiming gender discrimination.
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