The USA are here yet again. Is it really a shock? No. It’s their third consecutive World Cup final and they’re yet to finish outside of the top three since the tournament’s inception.
Any doubts that the rest of the world catching up to them has been dispelled throughout the tournament. They’ve shown they can win matches down in the nitty gritty, resting big players or can just dominate from the start.
Against England, it was definitely the former of those, especially in the second half.
In the first half, however, it was just another dominant display from the Americans. There was some commotion when the starting line up didn’t contain Megan Rapinoe after her brace against France in the quarter-finals. Had the USA made a mistake? Was it a tactical change?
It didn’t matter as her replacement, Cristen Press, scored in the 10th minute.
In all of USA’s matches in the World Cup they have scored within the opening 15 minutes. I don’t see that changing here against the Netherlands either. USA’s first goal to be scored in the first half is only 8/13, but there are several ways you can play it for more value.
Time Of First Goal has a price of 5/6 if you think a goal will be scored up to the 27th minute if you want to play it safe. However, I’m going to play the ‘Time of First Goal by Time Interval’ market and back 1st – 10th minute and the 11th – 20th-minute selections.
In their semi-final match against England however, I still didn’t believe they looked like their normal selves. The Lionesses equalised nine minutes later, albeit against the run of play before Alex Morgan put them ahead again in the opening 45 minutes. Prompting ‘that’ tea celebration.
But apart from that, the second half was nervy for the defending champions, and they couldn’t stop England’s 4-3-3 formation. What’s more, they couldn’t create anything either. Where they’ve normally had less possession, they still create attempts and score goals, but they only created one shot and it wasn’t on target.
Fortunately for them, they face a Netherlands side who have had a day’s less rest with their last game against Sweden going to extra time, where they scored a winner thanks to Jackie Groengen.
Now the Dutch have done brilliantly to get to their first ever World Cup final, seeing as before 2009, they hadn’t qualified for any tournament – ever.
They’re reigning Euro champions and shouldn’t be written off so quickly, especially when they have gone 10 games unbeaten in all competitions (W9 D1), winning the last nine-in-a-row and conceding only four goals in the process.
However, their defence has been the main concern throughout the tournament. Especially against their round of 16 match against Japan where they were lucky to qualify, thanks to the new and harsh handball ruling which gave them a penalty in the dying moments to win. It did look like it had improved against Sweden, but if they’re sloppy again, the USA will dominate easily.
In attack, they have players who can produce moments of magic; Vivanne Miedema, who at 22-years-old has already topped the Netherlands all-time leading goalscorer. Not only that, but she has had most shots at the competition, attempting 24 shots (three goals) and creating eight goalscoring chances.
Along with her Arsenal teammate Danielle Van De Donk, they can create chances where the USA looked vulnerable against England. They also have the likes of Shanice Van De Sanden, Lieke Martens, and Jill Roord going forward.
I won’t be surprised if there a couple of goals in this one, so I’m picking each team’s top goalscorer to score anytime with Power Prices.
Best Bet: Alex Morgan & Vivianne Miedema both to score – 8/1
All in all, the USA will probably win. I mean that’s why they’re 4/11 favourites.
Unfortunately, they’re not only the best in the world, but they also got the luck of the draw and the Netherlands knackering themselves out in extra-time the last time out.
If you want to pump up the USA winning price, back them to win and Both Teams to Score.
Best Bet: USA to win and Both Teams To Score – 12/5
* All prices correct at time of posting.