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Photo: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Women's National Team dominated the World Cup from start to finish. Yesterday's final of USA 2, Netherlands 0 was no different, even if it took them longer than usual to score their first goal.

Context: In each of their previous six matches, the U.S. scored within the opening 12 minutes. Yesterday's first goal didn't come until the 61st (on a Megan Rapinoe penalty kick), but at no point did it feel like the Americans' eventual victory was in doubt.

  • I was nervous that the U.S. was going to win 1-0, which would have led to the predictable "should that really have been a penalty kick?!" coverage and overshadowed this monumental achievement. But Rose Lavelle — who is a superstar and looks like the future face of this team — scored an absolute beauty to seal the deal.

By the numbers:

  • 26: Goals scored by the USWNT, a new record for most goals scored in a single World Cup.
  • 70.2%: Percentage of time the Americans led in their seven games (442 of 630 minutes). They never trailed.
  • 12: Consecutive World Cup matches won by the USWNT, the longest winning streak in either men's or women's World Cup history.
  • 700: The number of girls playing high school soccer in the U.S. in 1972, when Title IX was passed. In 2018, there were nearly 400,000, proving that the USWNT's dominance is no accident, but rather a product of public policy, as the Guardian notes.

What they're saying:

"This year's USWNT simply proved that it could do everything. It could speak its mind, fight for equal pay, win every game, and answer its critics. For some groups, taking on all of that at once might have led to loss of focus. For this group, it seemed to have the opposite effect."

— The Ringer's Brian Phillips (full article)

What's next: The city of New York will hold a ticker tape parade for the USWNT on Wednesday.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
13 mins ago - Economy & Business

Charted: GOP surged as Biden slumped

Expand chart
Reproduced from Gallup. (Independents were asked their party leaning.) Chart: Axios Visuals

Gallup polling found a huge shift in party preference over the course of 2021, from a 9-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a 5-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.

Why it matters: It's the biggest swing in one calendar year for Gallup's 30 years of tracking.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
33 mins ago - Science

A new NASA astronaut corps for the next era in space

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NASA's next crewed missions to the Moon will need a larger, differently-trained and multi-skilled astronaut corps to deliver on the agency's ambitions.

Why it matters: NASA has plans to fly astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2025 and ultimately establish a long-term presence there. That goal requires a robust corps with new, specialized training in what it takes to live and work on the Moon — and NASA needs to start planning now.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.