Women's World Cup Wrap-Up: Tournament Review
The FIFA Women’s World Cup is over. A tournament that crowned the USA once again as undisputed back-to-back world champions (2015 and 2019). On top of the memorable games and overall signs of increased quality on the pitch, the WWC 2019 also offered encouraging signs for the future of the women’s game off the pitch, from increased commercial potential, to broadcasting records.
All of these signs of success are sure to become hot topics in the upcoming Soccerex Europe, in September. For now, let’s focus on what happened on the pitch, highlighting the statistical team of the tournament, according to GoalPoint, the analytics partner with whom Soccerex joined in to bring detailed and extensive content, throughout this unforgettable tournament.
Let’s have a look at the Team of the Tournament and their individual GoalPoint Ratings, also sharing a few notes on how outstanding the performances of these eleven players were, during France 2019.
Team of the Tournament
Laura Giuliani (Italy) | Goalkeeper
The 26-year-old goalkeeper embodied not only Italy’s inspiring campaign but also the impressive standard of several goalkeepers during the tournament. No other keeper amounted more saves per 90 minutes played (4.0, 20 in total), stopping 83,3% of the shots aimed to the “Azzurri” goal.
Lucy Bronze (England) | Right-back
Many expected the “Lionesses” to end up higher than 4th place in this WWC, but few could expect more from Lucy Bronze. She controlled the English game down the right, being an “engine” player that makes it difficult to highlight a single positive achievement. From her outstanding defensive game (17 tackles and 18 interceptions), to her offensive contribution (she ended as one of the two “Lionesses” providing more key passes, with 9), she was super consistent and even managed to score a goal of the tournament contender.
Stefanie van der Gragt (Netherlands) | Centre-back
The Netherlands was surely a welcomed surprise in this World Cup, reaching the final. Their defensive performance was certainly crucial in securing this memorable result, and despite conceding a penalty foul in the final, Stefanie is a great example of that solidity. Her passing (91% accuracy in her own half) and aerial dominance (80% defensive aerials won) speak more than words, and so does the total of 36 clearances made by Stefanie throughout the tournament.
Wendie Renard (France) | Centre-back
Wendie surely benefits from her towering height (1.87m) but winning 100% of her 17 aerial duels is still an incredible achievement in a World Cup. On top of that she was not only a defensive pillar for France but also ended as their top scorer, with 4 goals in 6 headed shots. France might have ended short of expectations, but Wendie flew high enough.
Amel Majri (France) | Left-back
Amel joined Wendie in building an unrivaled French offensive threat, from the back. Her amazing score of 21 key passes surpasses the 20 provided by USA’s Megan Rapinoe. No wonder Marji ended up as one of the top assisters of the tournament, with 3 of her passes feeding French goals.
Amandine Henry (France) | Centre-midfielder
It’s no surprise to find the French captain Amandine in this team. People expected a lot from her and she surely delivered it in this tournament. With great defensive (23 defensive actions) and offensive contribution (16 shots and 9 key passes), Amandine was all over the place, ending up with 2 goals and 1 assist.
Samantha Mewis (USA) | Centre/offensive-midfielder
Samantha Mewis is one of those players: you might not have heard pundits mention her a lot, but the numbers show how important she was for the US success and probably her manager knows them very well. Her 6 goal actions (2 goals and 4 assists) adding to the staggering 31 defensive actions completed suffice to highlight her importance.
Rose Lavelle (USA) | Right-midfielder/winger
Pundits often mentioned Rose as a personal “bet” from the manager Jill Ellis. If that’s the case then it was a good bet indeed. Either coming from the wing or drilling through the middle, Rose was irreverent throughout the tournament, either using her dribbling ability (12 completed dribbles) or her accurate shooting capabilities (50% on target, out of 14 attempts). She ended up scoring 3 goals, one of them a beauty in the final, but most of all she kept her opponents in check throughout the tournament.
Megan Rapinoe (USA) | Left-midfielder/winger
The media personality of the tournament, Megan accompanied that with her top match performance. Her eight goal actions (six goals and 2 assists) make it impossible to find a more decisive player in this tournament, especially during the knock-out stage when, despite an injury, she was still able to put her name on the score sheet in 3 out of the 4 games that defined the World Champion, including the final.
Ellen White (England) | Striker
Ellen White was expected to be the “goal hunter” England needed to put up a World Cup challenge and there she was! 6 goals out of 17 shots (35.3% conversion) are enough to summarize her offensive threat, and the kind of performance any national team would like to rely on, up front.
Alex Morgan (USA) | Striker
This time there were no injuries keeping Alex Morgan from having a memorable World Cup. And memorable it was, with 6 goals in 21 shots and 3 assists (in just 4 key passes) topping that and finishing as the tournament leader in goal actions. She is definitely not the kind of “aerial threat” striker but, with the ball close to her feet, she is a “World Champion”.
Player of the Tournament
Mewis is one of those players who exemplifies how analytics not only helps some players get the credit they deserve but are also essential in identifying top performers, in this day and age. The reasons why Samantha evades media and fan attention are probably the same that made her so praiseworthy during this World Cup: she is that kind of “low profile” and consistent performer on which a world champion can be built around.
Don’t get us wrong, Sam’s achievements aren’t so “invisible” as we might be suggesting, they just weren’t praised enough yet. Mewis still shows obvious numbers that should credit her easily, as one of the top players in France.
With six goal actions in total - 2 goals and 4 assists - she is surpassed only by teammates Alex Morgan (9) and Megan Rapinoe (8), when listing the players with the highest relationship with the goal in the tournament. Her four assists also make her the top tournament assister, tied with Sherida Spitze (Netherlands) but with less minutes played, and the Swedish Kosovare Asllani was the only player delivering clearer cut goal chance passes (6) than her, with four.
Such achievements would be enough to credit Sam’s campaign, if only her performance wasn’t much more than only her goal contribution. Her physical presence certainly plays a role in justifying her ability to lead the team when possession recovery is asked for. She totaled 43 recoveries, only 2 short of Crystal Dunn’s 45 but with a difference: Mewis played 74 minutes less than her left-back teammate.
Her 38 defensive actions show how much she helped out in defense. And what about Sam’s aerial dominance? She challenged 31 aerials in France, winning 23 of them (74.2%), divided between the offensive effort (15) and the need to clear win the ball back (16).
There was no lack of individual classy performances in France but Mewis had a classy World Cup altogether, with GoalPoint Ratings to match the claim, starting with a “perfect” 10.0 vs Thailand and closing as the best US performer in the final (7.1) and by now, you have can understand why the North Carolina Courage player deserves to be credited as one of the most important pillars behind the USWNT fourth World Cup title.
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