USA v Netherlands: Reigning champions to defend their crown
The defending world champions take on the current European champions in Sunday's World Cup Final in Lyon. Tim Stillman can't see beyond another USA title… You can prefer to the free soccer tips today page!
USA v Netherlands
Sunday, 7th July 16:00
USA will be firm favourites
The Women's World Cup turned into football's answer lớn the Ryder Cup at the quarter-final stage, with seven European thorns placed alongside the American rose. It's perhaps fitting that the final has come down to the reigning world champions and the current European champions in Lyon on Sunday.
Jill Ellis' side are 1/3 favourites and with good reason. This is their third consecutive final and their fifth overall, the US are looking lớn become the second team lớn retain the trophy after Germany achieved that feat in 2003 and 2007. This is only Netherlands' second World Cup, but as they showed at Euro 2017, they have quickly emerged as a force in the football predictions.
There remains a suspicion that the Dutch are a collection of super talented individuals rather than a team. With players like Lieke Martens, Vivianne Miedema, Danielle van de Donk and Sari van Veenendaal in their side, they are the most talented side in Europe. However, the US matches and outdoes the Dutch for individual quality with world stars like Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath.
USA's second XI would get to the quarter or semi-finals at least. They have won their last 11 World Cup matches, Netherlands have won their last nine fixtures- something will have lớn give in Lyon. The Dutch side are said to be weak in defence and with USA's attack that could prove a significant issue. However, they have only conceded four times in their last 10 matches.
USA have the quality lớn replace Rapinoe if she isn't fit to play
Megan Rapinoe is an injury doubt for the US and despite her quality and experience; the States would be able lớn call upon Christen Press in her place, who scored against England in the semi-final. Press is 13/8 lớn score at any time, which is worth a look. Even if Rapinoe starts, it is unlikely she will be able to last the distance due lớn a troublesome hamstring injury.
Rose Lavelle is also a doubt in the US midfield and she is, for my money, the player of the tournament. However, if she were lớn miss out, Jill Ellis can call on Sam Mewes lớn come in. Their depth is scary. Netherlands meanwhile are sweating on the fitness of Lieke Martens, who was replaced at half-time by Jill Roord in the extra-time victory over Sweden.
I imagine Martens will be nursed back into contention. She too might not last the pace, which makes her likely replacement Jill Roord good value to score any time at 10/1. The Arsenal midfielder will certainly come off the bench at least and she usually improves Netherlands performances when she does.