Dutch star Martens (foot) game-day decision
LYON, France -- While one of the biggest stars remaining in the Women's World Cup continues to insist she will be available for Sunday's final between the United States and the Netherlands, the outlook for another sounded less promising a day ahead of kickoff.
U.S. star Megan Rapinoe said her hamstring won't prevent her from playing. Dutch counterpart Lieke Martens, according to her coach, is a day-of-game decision with a foot injury.
As she has since missing a semifinal win against England with a hamstring strain earlier in the week, Rapinoe indicated Saturday that she is making progress. With five goals in four games, she is one behind teammate Alex Morgan and England's Ellen White for the overall tournament lead.
"As of now I'm expecting to be ready for tomorrow," Rapinoe said. "I feel good. That's all I can really say right now."
Martens didn't speak with the media Saturday, but Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman sounded less than optimistic about her availability. Martens was replaced at halftime of a semifinal win against Sweden.
"She's preparing for the game tomorrow," Wiegman said. "We're not sure if she can start, but we're working on it. I don't know the outcome yet. We'll decide tomorrow morning."
Photos from the Dutch training session Saturday showed Martens sitting on the sideline at times while the rest of the team went through drills on the field.
Martens is arguably the best player on the Dutch team. She won the Golden Ball as the tournament's most outstanding player when the Netherlands won the European Championship in 2017. She was also named FIFA's player of the year that year. She led Barcelona to the UEFA Women's Champions League final this past season and has been linked to a potential move this summer to Olympique Lyon, Champions League winner the past four years.
Martens scored both goals in a 2-1 Netherlands win against Japan in the opening knockout round of the World Cup, her only goals of the tournament.
Wiegman said nothing will change the way the Dutch approach Sunday's game, her team still intent on playing aggressive soccer and possessing the ball.
U.S. coach Jill Ellis also said no players have been ruled out, with midfielder Rose Lavelle the biggest question mark other than Rapinoe. Lavelle left the semifinal with a hamstring issue but said Friday that it was precautionary and she would be fine.