The FIFA Women’s World Cup Final 2019 is upon us, and it seems as though the past month has whizzed by in a whirl, says MIA LAYMAN:

FIFA Women's World Cup Final 2019

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Final All Posts2019 has been decided – via a desperate goal delivered in the 99th minute of extra time by Netherlands player Jackie Groenen. The semi-final between the Netherlands and Sweden was a hard-fought affair, with neither team managing to score by full time. Hence the 30 minutes of extra time, and that all-so-important goal by Groenen. The European champs now face three-times World Cup winners the USA in the final on Sunday 7 July 2019. The game will be screened on DStv SuperSport 3 from 4.45pm.

It’s been nearly a month of hardcore battles on the pitch, made more exciting (and heart-breaking) by South Africa’s first time in the tournament. Banyana Banyana came in as underdogs, and it was no great surprise that they went out the same. But they did manage to garner the support of large swathes of the spectators they played before, with their brave never-say-die attitude. And while Banyana’s lack of tactical skill may have been their downfall (not to mention their lack of experience playing at this international level), their startling speed when they managed to grab the ball won them the respect of both competitors and crowds. That first match against Spain, when South Africa was one-up at halftime, was a great start to the competition, and a great boost to both the players and coach Desiree Ellis.

Of course, it all went downhill from there, but not without some moments of drama. China only beat SA by one, and it was a tight match. But following this, Germany performed something of a wipeout with a four-nil win. That was Banyana done and dusted.

FIFA Women's World Cup Final 2019

Finding your FIFA Women’s World Cup Final 2019 favourite

After that, for South Africans anyway, it’s been a matter of finding the next team to support. My personal fave, despite myself, is team USA. Not just because they’re damn good, and I think former captain Abby Wambach did amazing things to raise the level of the game; but also because of their present co-captain Megan Rapinoe. Not only is she an exceptional soccer player, scoring many of her team’s winning goals in this tournament, but she’s an unapologetic feminist, activist and lesbian, saying: “You can’t win a championship without gays.” Even better, she’s refused to visit Trump’s White House if her team wins the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final 2019. That in itself is a good reason to cheer her and her team on, come Sunday.

The Dutch? I’m not so sure. Sure, they’ve had a great year so far, they’re the reigning European Champions, and they’ve been on a major winning streak in all their matches prior to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final 2019. But they’re actually ranked eighth in the world, as opposed to the USA’s first place, and despite the Dutch football federation directing more money and mentoring towards the women’s teams in recent years, they’ve still got a way to go.

Sunday’s match is going to be a corker, though. The Dutch are the underdogs this time, and will have plenty of support in the stands. The Americans will be wanting to hold on to their title, despite a looming White House invitation if they do. And nobody will want a penalty shoot-out to decide the game. It’s going to be epic.

What: FIFA Women’s World Cup Final 2019

Where and when: DStv SuperSport 3 from 4.45pm on Sunday 7 July 2019

WS