Having bossed women’s football for long periods since winning the first World Cup in 1991, USA can’t be happy with only taking the top laurels once in five renewals since, especially after never failing to reach the last four.
They’re big favourites to atone for that slender haul against Japan though, with Jill Ellis’ girls 9/25 to lift the trophy in Vancouver, and 5/6 to see off the defending champions in normal time.
Norio Sasaki’s side will fancy their 21/10 chances of keeping hold of the cup having gone unbeaten so far in this tournament, and clearly had luck on their side when England’s Laura Bassett’s late own goal sent them through in the semis.
Japan beat hosts Germany and Sweden prior to seeing off USA on penalties in the Frankfurt final four years ago, so they can’t be ruled out, but the fact that Ellis’ charges have won two of three meetings since, including a 4-1 drubbing in 2012, and drew the other suggests the Stars and Stripes will have too much class.
Houston Dash midfielder Carli Lloyd has scored USA’s last two openers, and laid on an assist for Kelley O’Hara in the 2-0 win over Germany last time out.
This form, allied with Lloyd being entrusted with penalty duties by Ellis, makes a mockery of the 6/1 odds with bwin.com about the 32-year-old bagging the first goal in Canada, while 3/1 about her merely getting on the scoresheet for the third game in a row should be snapped up.
Half of USA’s six matches so far at the World Cup have ended with a two-goal victory, so the favourites at 12/5 with a one-goal handicap holds plenty of appeal.
The two-time winners haven’t let in a goal since their 3-1 opening-match win over Australia, and prevailed 2-0 twice in their past three fixtures. You can have 23/4 about the same scoreline occurring at BC Place.