Megan Rapinoe, Lucy Bronze and Alex Morgan lead the nominees for the 2019 Ballon d'Or Femenin in the award's second year.

Publication France Football revealed their 20-woman shortlist on Monday, acknowledging the successes of Lyon and United States in particular.

Women's Champions League winners Lyon have six players in the running, including Bronze and 2018 winner Ada Hegerberg, though the latter is not thought to be among the favourites given her World Cup absence.

United States lifted the trophy in France and four of their squad have been nominated, with Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle, Morgan and Rapinoe flying the USA flag.

Rapinoe is regarded by many as the favourite, however, with the Reign FC star inspirational in the World Cup campaign, finishing joint top-scorer on six with Ellen White and Morgan, while she also added three assists.

She won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball in France, before also taking home The Best FIFA Women's Player award, edging out Morgan. Bronze came third.

Full list of nominees:

Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Ellen White (Manchester City), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Nilla Fischer (Wolfsburg), Amandine Henry (Lyon), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal), Dzenifer Marozsan (Lyon), Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg), Sarah Bouhaddi (Lyon), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC), Lieke Martens (Barcelona), Sari van Veenendal (Atletico Madrid), Wendie Renard (Lyon), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Marta (Orlando Pride), Ada Hegerberg (Lyon), Kosovare Asllani, Sofia Jakobsson (both CD Tacon/Real Madrid), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns).

Frank de Boer has backtracked on his equal pay comment after he said it was "ridiculous" the United States women's national team expect to be paid the same as their male counterparts.

Women's World Cup winners USA, who beat Netherlands in last month's final, continue to be embroiled in a battle for equal pay with U.S. Soccer.

Atlanta United coach De Boer said he is a champion of women's soccer and indicated he regrets his choice of words during an interview with the Guardian.

“I think for me, it’s ridiculous. It's the same like tennis," De Boer said to the newspaper. "If there are watching, for the World Cup final, 500 million people or something like that, and 100 million for a women's final, that's a difference. So it's not the same.

"And of course, they have to be paid what they deserve to and not less, just what they really deserve. If it's just as popular as the men, they will get it, because the income and the advertising will go into that.

"But it's not like that, so why do they have to earn the same? I think it's ridiculous. I don't understand that."

De Boer, however, has now clarified his comments.

"Especially the word ridiculous," he said. "It's a hard word if I read that word only. If you see the whole context, I was very clear that I always promote women's soccer."

USA star Megan Rapinoe has been one of the most vocal athletes to speak out against the pay disparity, using her platform after USA defended their World Cup title.

Talks between players and governing body U.S. Soccer have broken down, with Rapinoe indicating she will continue fighting for equal pay.

"They're the only employer that we could have playing for the national team, we're the only employees that they could have, so for better or for worse we're tethered together," she told ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday.

"I think that if and when and ever they are willing to have a conversation about equal pay that starts there and goes forward, we're always open to that."

Women's World Cup champions the United States started their victory tour with a 3-0 win over the Republic of Ireland.

After defending their World Cup trophy in France, USA defeated Ireland thanks to goals from Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan and Carli Lloyd in California on Saturday.

USA were without stars Megan Rapinoe or Alex Morgan at the Rose Bowl – the first of five games across the United States that will run through October.

But that just meant some of USA's other stars were able to shine.

Christen Press, who impressed throughout the World Cup, fed the ball to Heath – who opened the scoring in the 16th minute.

Samantha Mewis and Lindsey Horan quickly partnered up for the next goal – the latter doubling the advantage just past the half-hour mark with a tap-in.

Lloyd capped off the team's scoring four minutes before half-time after the veteran looped a header over the Ireland goalkeeper.

Next up, USA will face Portugal in Philadelphia on August 29.

Megan Rapinoe struck a 61st-minute penalty before Rose Lavelle netted a fine solo goal as the United States beat Netherlands 2-0 to become Women's World Cup winners for the fourth time.

Reign FC forward Rapinoe plundered her sixth goal of the tournament to ensure Jill Ellis' side successfully defended their title at the expense of a Netherlands team that fought bravely to overcome their underdogs tag but ultimately came up short.

The goal, which came after a VAR review highlighted Stefanie van der Gragt's foul on Alex Morgan, drew Rapinoe level with Morgan and England's Ellen White in the goalscoring stakes, while Netherlands forward Lieke Martens cut a frustrated figure as the Dutch struggled to create chances.

Lavelle provided the best moment of an entertaining clash in Lyon when she carried the ball from the centre circle to the edge of the box before producing a classy finish, the quality of which reflected everything crowds at this World Cup have come to expect from its dominant team.

The European champions certainly played their part but, perhaps fittingly after a tournament marked by the use of technology, the contest hinged on a challenge that might have gone unnoticed without it.

Sherida Spitse was booked for a late sliding challenge on Lavelle in a cagey opening spell that saw the United States fail to score inside the opening 12 minutes of a game for the first time at this year's tournament.

The USA struggled to break down a compact Dutch defence until Julie Ertz thundered a volley towards goal after 28 minutes but Sari van Veenendaal was equal to it, parrying the ball away from danger.

Van der Gragt's superb interception prevented Morgan from latching onto a long ball forward and Van Veenendaal then made two excellent saves to deny the forward before Netherlands ended a battling first-half performance with a dangerous spell of pressure.

Netherlands continued to frustrate USA until Van der Gragt's high challenge on Morgan prompted a VAR review and, after a penalty was correctly awarded, Rapinoe side-footed the ensuing spot-kick low to Van Veenendaal's left and into the net.

Vivianne Miedema tore through the USA defence with a mazy dribble but could not get her shot away and moments later Lavelle provided a finishing lesson, making space for herself on the edge of Netherlands' box before stroking a left-footed shot into the corner of the net.

Van Veenendaal made an excellent save to deny Crystal Dunn when the left-back burst clear but there was no time for her team-mates to mount a comeback as the world champions deservedly secured back-to-back titles.

Phil Neville admitted his England players have "destroyed" him at the Women's World Cup as he opened up about his new-found sensitivity and the importance of creating a positive environment for the Lionesses to thrive in.

The former Manchester United and Everton midfielder said England's journey to the semi-finals, where they lost 2-1 to the United States, had left him more prone to teary moments and with a tendency to smile and relax, while describing his squad as "an unbelievable set of girls".

England lost 2-1 to Sweden in Saturday's third-place play-off – a game Neville wrote off as "a nonsense" - but he spoke about his pride in his players and his determination to reflect deeply on their performance.

"They destroyed me," Neville told 90min.com.

"They turned me into an emotional wreck. I cry at everything – I cry at watching Dirty Dancing now, and Pretty Woman. Because they are the most unbelievable set of girls, honestly they are.

"You think some days that they're not going to be up for today and they are. They drive each other forward. They inspire me.

"They've changed me. In life you're always at your best when you're happy and when you're having fun, and for these players to perform at their best I think at times I've needed to relax.

"I've always been a 100-miles-an-hour, eyeballs out, intense type of guy, but sometimes they like to see a smile, the smile gives them comfort and that feeling that you trust them and they've made me into that kind of person."

Neville has just short of two months to take stock of England's performance before the squad regroups for a friendly against Norway in September.

He indicated that the Lionesses, who were also eliminated from the World Cup at the semi-final stage in 2015, are playing the brand of football he has been aiming for since he took charge in January 2018.

"You have periods in the day when you think we were so close, and then you have periods where you get maybe a little bit angry that we should've done more," said Neville. "Maybe 12 months ago should we have been firmer.

"When you start reviewing some of the work you've done, some of your tactics or whatever, you do have to self-reflect. And I'm sure that after the tournament I'll probably do that more than anyone because ultimately the responsibility falls with me.

"We've still got to be proud of the work we've done and I'm proud of the way the players tried to play.

"The semi-final was enthralling. 56,000 people, my players playing the type of football I want them to play, every single player giving their all. I said to them at the start of the game, don't leave anything and they didn't leave anything. They left their hearts on the field."

Sweden clinched third place at the Women's World Cup for the third time after they exposed England's defensive frailties in a 2-1 bronze-medal match victory.

Kosovare Asllani and Sofia Jakobsson scored inside the opening 22 minutes at Allianz Riviera, where the Lionesses failed to recover from a slow start despite Fran Kirby pulling a goal back just after the half-hour.

Ellen White was denied the record of being the first player to score in six consecutive matches in the same tournament when a VAR review deemed she used her arm to control the ball before putting it in the net and Sweden locked the gates thereafter.

Karen Carney, who announced her decision to retire from football before the game, came on as a second-half substitute but there was to be no fairy-tale ending for her or for England.

England were pinned back from the outset and came undone when Alex Greenwood's poor clearance fell to the feet of Asllani, who rattled home a low drive that found the net despite Carly Telford getting a hand to it.

Telford made a good near-post save to deny Jakobsson but was powerless to prevent the Montpellier winger from curling a shot into the far corner after England's defenders allowed her to dribble into the box unchallenged.

Kirby revived a lacklustre Lionesses' performance when she powered into the area and drilled beyond Hedvig Lindahl moments before White had an equaliser disallowed for handball – the Golden Boot-chasing striker thwarted by a VAR review as she was in the semi-final defeat to the United States.

Julia Zigiotti Olme fired a low shot from 20 yards that tested Telford mid-way through a quieter second half that saw Sweden sit deep and defend their lead while England began to tire.

Neville sent on Carney for her 144th and final England appearance 17 minutes from time, while Nilla Fischer's brilliant goal-line clearance prevented Lucy Bronze from taking the game into an additional period.

Jackie Groenen's brilliant strike in extra time secured European champions Netherlands a place in the Women's World Cup final thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Sweden on Wednesday.

Neither side managed to find a way through in the regulation 90 minutes despite the woodwork being struck twice, but recent Manchester United addition Groenen finally found the mark to set up a final against the United States on Sunday.

The respective defences generally came out on top in the first half, as neither team particularly captured the imagination when on the front foot, providing a stark contrast to Tuesday's semi-final contest between USA and England.

Proceedings opened up more after the break and both sides were denied by the frame of the goal, but it took until extra time for the decisive goal to arrive, with Groenen producing a fine finish to seal a first ever World Cup final for her side.

Sweden looked the brighter of the two sides in the early stages and carved an opening 13 minutes in, Sofia Jakobsson driving forward and feeding Stina Blackstenius to her right, but the eventual shot was blocked and then smothered by Sari van Veenendaal.

A generally cagey first half produced few other highlights, however, with the next clear-cut chance coming just before the hour, when Nilla Fischer saw her controlled effort tipped onto the post by Van Veenendaal.

Hedvig Lindahl was similarly inspirational at the other end soon after, getting a fingertip to Vivianne Miedema's looping header to nudge it onto the crossbar.

It was little surprise to see the game go to extra time, and Netherlands' superior fitness saw them take control before making the breakthrough – Groenen clinically picking out the bottom-left corner from 25 yards in the 99th minute.

Megan Rapinoe described herself as "deeply American" following her feud with United States president Donald Trump but called for her country to have an honest conversation about how to improve peoples' lives.

The Reign FC captain drew criticism from Trump when she said she would not visit the White House if the USA win the Women's World Cup, having previously caused a stir with the president by not singing the national anthem.

Trump said in a tweet: "Megan should never disrespect our country, the White House, or our flag, especially since so much has been done for her and the team."

When asked how she feels to be an American, 33-year-old forward Rapinoe - who has scored five goals in four appearances at the World Cup to help the defending champions reach the final - gave a poignant response.

"I think that I'm particularly and uniquely and very deeply American," she told reporters.

"If we want to talk about the ideals that we stand for, the song and the anthem, and what we were founded on, I think I'm extremely American.

"I think for the detractors, I would have them look hard into what I'm actually saying, the actions that I'm doing - maybe you don't agree with every single way that I do it and that can be discussed.

"I know that I'm not perfect. But I think that I stand for honesty and for truth and for wanting to have the conversation; looking at the country honestly and saying yes, we are a great country, and there are many things that are so amazing and I feel very fortunate to be in this country.

"I would never be able to do this in a lot of other places. But also: that doesn't mean that we can't get better. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't always strive to be better."

Rapinoe sat out USA's 2-1 semi-final win over England on Tuesday with a minor hamstring injury but is hopeful of featuring in Sunday's final.

Amid the social media furore surrounding her comments, she received the support of her girlfriend, WNBA star Sue Bird, who fired back at Trump via a lengthy letter in The Players' Tribune entitled: 'So the President F***ing Hates My Girlfriend.'

Expanding on her views on America's plight, California-born Rapinoe added: "I think that this country was founded on a lot of good ideals, but it was also founded on slavery.

"And I think we just need to be really honest about that and be really open in talking about that, so we can reconcile that and hopefully move forward and make this country better for everyone."

Megan Rapinoe handed the United States a fitness boost by training the morning after she missed their Women's World Cup semi-final win over England.

The 33-year-old forward, who has scored five times in France, missed Tuesday's 2-1 victory over the Lionesses in Lyon with a "slight" hamstring strain.

Rapinoe said after the game she expected to be fit to feature in Sunday's final – when USA will face either Netherlands or Sweden – and there was an encouraging sign on Wednesday as she trained with those members of Jill Ellis' squad who did not start on Tuesday.

In the session open to the media, Rapinoe was involved in both the stretching and jogging exercises having only watched on while the rest of USA's squad warmed up before their game on Tuesday.

Steph Houghton missed a controversial late penalty as holders the United States beat England 2-1 to reach a third successive Women's World Cup final, despite the absence of inspirational co-captain Megan Rapinoe.

The Lionesses had the opportunity to at least force extra-time with an 84th-minute spot-kick, but Houghton's poor effort was saved and Millie Bright saw red late on as USA held on to ensure their title defence goes to the final stage.

Rapinoe's absence, said to be due to a hamstring issue, provided a pre-match shock, but Christian Press made a swift impact as her replacement when heading in the opener, before Ellen White's equaliser was cancelled out by Morgan nodding in just past the half-hour mark on her birthday.

England produced a good response in the second half and White had a second goal ruled out for straying marginally offside, before Alyssa Naeher easily saved Houghton's penalty and a frustrated Bright earned a second booking, providing a disappointing end for Phil Neville's side.

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