PARIS – The Netherlands will bid to begin a new era in women’s soccer in Sunday’s World Cup final when they try to stop the all-conquering United States team from claiming a record fourth crown.
It is almost a classic David v Goliath clash, although the Dutch did produce a major shock two years ago when, ranked 12th in the world, they won the European Championship on home soil to lift their first trophy.
The Netherlands have utilised technically-gifted players, like former World Player of the Year Lieke Martens, to reach the final against the most dominant team in women’s football history.
Both sides are managed by women, Sarina Wiegman coaching the Dutch and Jill Ellis leading the US. Of the 24 teams competing at the World Cup, only nine were coached by women.
The US, seeking to retain the trophy they won comfortably in Canada four years ago, have been severely tested in this tournament with Ellis saying it has been their hardest ever route to a final.