What a tournament.
It’s reasonable to call the 2019 Women’s World Cup the best top-to-bottom showcase of women’s soccer in history, and it’s up there even if it’s not No. 1.
Here are the moments that stood above the pack, and since we’re not going to talk about VAR for a change — and also going to skip complaints about Cameroon’s physicality and American hotel surveying — we’ll keep things short and sweet.
Made-up Marta provides more inspiration
Marta has long been a hero to many young players, but she had three major moments in what could be her last World Cup.
The 33-year-old Brazilian became the all-time World Cup leader for goals and ran her career total to 17, but almost as many people were discussing her choice (two key words there) to wear bright red lipstick on the pitch. Others would follow suit.
But the magical playmaker really stood out in her post-elimination speech begging the girls of the world to dream big.
“The women’s game depends on you to survive,” she said. “Cry in the beginning so you can smile in the end.”
A Baker’s Dozen and Its After-Effects
If there were any questions regarding the USWNT’s desire to bring the proper motivation to defend its World Cup, the Yanks answered emphatically with an opening game 13-0 masterpiece versus Thailand.
Alex Morgan scored five goals. Five!
The storylines that would follow were many. Megan Rapinoe’s leg-pumping celebration came when the Americans put the game to bed three or four times early, and it wasn’t so classy (even if it was understandable. Those aren’t mutually exclusive concepts).
The next match for Thailand, though, saw a more respectable deficit of 4-0 turn into a joyous 4-1, and national team program benefactor Nualphan Lamsam. They finished with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chile, but this was the moment for them:
We were kinda lying about not mentioning VAR as Argentina stuns, eliminates Scotland
When Erin Cuthbert scored a 69th minute goal to give Scotland a 3-0 lead in its final group stage game, Argentina would’ve been forgiven for climbing into its shell and congratulating Scotland on advancing into the knockout rounds.
That didn’t quite happen, did it? Argentina made it 3-1 five minutes later and got an own goal soon after that to pull to within one.
Stoppage time saw Argentina get a penalty through Video Assistant Referee. Lee Alexander saved the attempt, but was awarded a second when VAR deemed that Alexander left her line too early.
That one was converted, and Scotland went home. Bitter stuff, and the referees didn’t like it either.
Cameroon’s late show extends tournament too knockout rounds
Ajara Nchout scored early in the second half of a must-win match for Cameroon against New Zealand, but both teams looked set to go home early after the Football Ferns leveled the score and couldn’t find a second.
Nchout’s second marker, though, was leeee-git and came deep in stoppage time for one of the most memorable moments in France.
Megan Rapinoe and her pose
Okay, so this one’s easy; When you look back on the name to collect the most headlines at the tournament, what moment stands above the rest for your Golden Boot- and Golden Ball-winning World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe.
And it’s the pose. Here I am: Love me or hate me, I’m getting the job done.
A tournament which saw her create furor with an over-the-top celebration against Thailand before having to deal with a surprising release of unsurprising anti-presidential comments.
Rapinoe and her pink shock of hair were everywhere, and she cemented her status as a world star. What’s next for her is unknown, but what happened this summer won’t be forgotten.