Megan Rapinoe's breakthrough penalty kick in the 61st minute put the U.S. women's national team on course for its second straight Women's World Cup by defeating the Netherlands 2-0 in the final in Lyon, France, on Sunday, July 7.
Former Wisconsin Badger Rose Lavelle added the second goal in the 69th minute as the Americans' world dominance continued before a crowd of 57,900 at Stade de Lyon.
The U.S. women, playing in a record third straight title match and their fifth final overall, now have won half of the eight World Cups since claiming the first in 1991 vs. Norway.
They also extended their World Cup unbeaten streak to 17 (14 wins, three draws) and have won 12 games in a row, both tournament records.
The U.S. and Germany (2003 and '07) are the only countries to win back-to-back Women's World Cups.
Alex Morgan drew the penalty in the 59th minute when she took a high boot to the right shoulder from Dutch defender Stefanie van der Gragt. There was no call initially, but French referee Stephanie Frappart signaled to the spot after a video review.
Rapinoe followed with a shot to the right as goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal went the opposite way. Rapinoe's sixth tourney goal was her third via PK. At age 34, she is the oldest player to score in the Women's World Cup final, breaking the mark of 32 set by teammate Carli Lloyd four years ago.
"It's unbelievable," Rapinoe told FOX Sports immediately after the game. "Just to know all of the people in our group who put in so much work. Obviously, the players ... we have all of our friends and family here. It's surreal, I don't know how to feel right now. It's ridiculous."
It was the latest first goal for the U.S. in the tournament. In each of the previous five matches, the Americans scored within the opening 12 minutes.
Up 1-0, the U.S. kept pressuring and Lavelle fired a low shot past van Veenendaal from 17 yards for her third goal of the tournament. The 26 goals for the Americans are a Women's World Cup record.
"We're crazy, that's what makes us special," Rapinoe said. "We just have no quit in us. We're so tight, and we'll do anything to win."
van Veenendaal had four of her eight saves in the first half to frustrate the Americans.
U.S. goalie Alyssa Naeher's only save was in the 77th minute on a Lineth Beerensteyn shot.
The win was the second straight for U.S. coach Jill Ellis, who joined Italian legend Vittorio Pozzo (1934, '38) as the only other manager in history to capture consecutive World Cup titles.
"This is just an amazing group of players, and an even better group of people," she told FOX Sports. "Just fantastic resilience. Just chemistry. They put their hearts and souls into this journey, and I can't thank them enough. It's been fantastic."
Her message to the team?
"I could barely speak, but I just said to them that they're unbelievable. Congratulations, they made history. Enjoy it ... I mean, this is just unbelievable. I've got no words, I'm sorry!"
Trump praises U.S. women
U.S. President Donald Trump praised the women's national soccer team in the wake of their World Cup triumph on Sunday and said he would look into inviting them to the White House, just days after a spat with the captain.
"Congratulations to the U.S. Women's Soccer Team on winning the World Cup! Great and exciting play. America is proud of you all!" tweeted Trump, who had exchanged barbs with player of the tournament Megan Rapinoe during the finals in France.
After Rapinoe, who led her side to victory on Sunday, told a reporter last month she would not go to the White House if the team were invited, Trump fired off a series of tweets saying: "Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!..."
"Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!"
He went on to promise a White House invitation to the team "win or lose."
However, when asked by reporters on Sunday if Trump would invite the team to the White House, he said, "We haven't really thought about it. We will look at that."
English-born U.S. national team coach Jill Ellis said she would not bet on an invite.
The United States duly claimed their fourth World Cup title with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in Lyon, with goals from Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle.
Former U.S. presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton also tweeted their congratulations, along with numerous other politicians, athletes and celebrities.
Trump also waded into the female athlete pay debate, saying that he "would like to see" women paid as much as their male counterparts, but noted that further study was needed.
Rapinoe on Saturday took aim at world soccer's governing body FIFA over a sizeable gap in the prize money offered to women's World Cup champions compared to male winners.