U.S. women's soccer team wins 2019 World Cup over the Netherlands in 2-0 final

After a scoreless first half, U.S. women's team co-captain Megan Rapinoe earned the first goal of the game with a penalty kick.
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By Kalhan Rosenblatt

The U.S. women's national soccer team proved their dominance at the 2019 Women's World Cup by defeating the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday in the championship match.

The victory in Lyon, France — capturing the world's attention and capping an unrivaled run by the soccer powerhouse — marks both the fourth world title and back-to-back wins for the U.S. women after taking home the trophy in 1991, 1999 and 2015.

The first half of the game went scoreless, with co-captain Megan Rapinoe earning the first goal of the game with a penalty kick at the 61-minute mark. Just before the 69-minute mark, midfielder Rose Lavelle, 24, scored the second goal.

"It's surreal," Rapinoe, 34, said after the win. "I don't know how to feel right now. It's ridiculous."

At the close of the game, some members of the crowd began chanting "equal pay" as a show of support for the U.S. Women's National Team, which is in a legal fight for their pay to match that of their male counterparts.

Megan Rapinoe poses with the World Cup trophy and her Golden Boot and Golden Ball trophies.Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Following the win against the Netherlands, Rapinoe was awarded the Golden Boot for the most goals scored in the shortest amount of time.

Rapinoe and teammate Alex Morgan both scored six goals and had three assists, but Rapinoe's goals were scored in 394 minutes compared to Morgan's 445 minutes, the BBC reported.

After Sunday's win, the internet exploded with praise for the Americans.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated them with a tweet, as well as first lady Melania Trump and tennis star Billie Jean King, who added a call for the women to receive equal pay to their male peers.

"It is long past time to pay them what they rightly deserve," King wrote.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that a parade would be held on Wednesday for the women's team.

President Donald Trump also offered his congratulations to the women's team on Sunday, despite sparring with some of its members over whether or not they would accept a presidential invitation to the White House.

"Congratulations to the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team on winning the World Cup! Great and exciting play. America is proud of you all!" Trump tweeted.

While speaking to reporters in New Jersey on Sunday afternoon, Trump said he'd like to see female athletes paid as much as male athletes, but added he hadn't looked at the numbers of what each team member was making. When asked if he would invite the USWNT to the White House, he said, "We haven't really thought about it. We will look at that."

The U.S. women's team roared onto the field during the group stage of the World Cup, defeating Thailand, 13-0. They continued to trounce their competitors throughout the games in France.

The win comes after a season that was marked by increasing visibility of LGBTQ athletes, controversy, calls for equal pay, and public battles against Trump.

In June, Rapinoe said in a recorded interview that she would decline to visit the White House if invited by Trump. In a video clip shared on social media, Rapinoe told a reporter, "I'm not going to the f---ing White House."

She added that Trump doesn't invite teams he knows will decline or "like he did when the Warriors turned him down, he'll claim they hadn't been invited in the first place."

Trump later responded in a series of tweets, saying he would invite the women's team win or lose, but adding a rebuke for Rapinoe.

"I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women's Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!" Trump wrote.

Rapinoe later accepted a Twitter invitation from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to visit the U.S. House of Representatives.

"It may not be the White House, but we’d be happy to welcome @mPinoe & the entire #USWMNT for a tour of the House of Representatives anytime they’d like," Ocasio-Cortez said.

Two hours later, Rapinoe replied to the tweet, accepting the invitation.

"Consider it done @AOC," Rapinoe wrote.

The U.S. women's team not only stirred up drama off the field, but also on it. The high-scoring game against Thailand led some to criticize how they ran up the score and appeared arrogant by celebrating too much.

Then, forward Alex Morgan garnered backlash after she celebrated a game-winning goal against England in the semifinals with a gesture as if she were sipping from a tea cup. Some said the USWNT had become too pompous, but others, including British actress Sophie Turner, praised the athlete.

"I'm really f---ing proud of you, Alex Morgan. Congratulations on your win. And that's the motherf---ing tea," Turner said in an Instagram story.

But despite the debate around the USWNT's etiquette, many said they were a beacon of openness and acceptance in sports, with five out and proud LGBTQ players.

Rose Lavelle celebrates after scoring a second goal for the United States against the Netherlands.Bernadett Szabo / Reuters

Although they've won on the soccer field, the USWNT are still fighting for a victory over their pay back home. Prior to the World Cup, the U.S. women's team filed a federal lawsuit, accusing the U.S. Soccer Federation of engaging in "institutionalized gender discrimination" reflected in differences in pay, medical care, travel arrangements and overall workload for the men's and women's teams.

The women's fight for equal pay has also been backed by the Democratic Women's Caucus, which penned an open letter to U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro.

The federation has declined to comment on pending litigation, but said that any pay disparity is "based on differences in the aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex."