After 20 teams gave it their all but came up short, the weekend leaves us with four teams left fighting in the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.
In the third place match today, England and Sweden will tussle for the right to wear a bronze medal. Both of these countries have played in the third-place match before (Sweden in 1991 and 2011, and England in 2015) and all three times they won. This time, only one of them will claim the victory, and we're expecting a spirited match.
Of course, as great as England v. Sweden should be, it is just the appetizer for the main event on Sunday when United States and Netherlands compete for the world title.
Let's look at these two teams and how they got here.
They put the stars in 'Stars and Stripes'
At times, especially during their monstrous 13–0 opening match victory over Thailand, this team has looked invincible. Striker Alex Morgan scored so many goals in that game (five) that she didn't need to score again until five matches later and she's still the tournament's top scorer with six goals.
And speaking of goal scorers... Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Lindsay Horan, Samantha Mewis, Rose Lavelle — the Americans have more multiple goal scorers than any team. They've only been scored on three times all tournament, and never more than once in a match. They're the number one team in the world, and have won three World Cups, which is the most ever.
Turning Europe 'Oranje'
In the shadow of this American dominance, the Netherlands look overmatched. They only played in the World Cup for the first time in 2015, placing 13th out of 24 teams. But like this country's striking national colour — 'Oranje' — it has not taken long since then for this team to stand out.
In 2017, the Women's European Championship, or Women's Euro, was held. The Netherlands stomped through that event without losing a single match, breaking Germany's 22-year grip on the title. And here in France, they've done the same. Zero losses, just being bosses.
Their team boasts an array of talent — Lieke Martens, Vivianne Miedema, Danielle van de Donk, and Shanice van de Sanden — who star on some of the best club teams in Europe.
Expect a gripping match!
So is this simply a matter of the United States stating their claim to being the greatest team on the planet? Despite the intense pressure of being the team that everyone wants to beat, the U.S. never seems to crack. They're amazing.
But if there's a team that could knock the Americans off their perch, it's this Netherlands squad. They're talented, tenacious, and super fun to watch. And watch we will.
May the best team claim the crown!