Megan Rapinoe Expects To Return For Women’s World Cup Final

Abby Dahlkemper of the USA (L) shares a joke with Megan Rapinoe of the USA (R) during the USA Training Session at Lyon Training Center on July 01, 2019 in Lyon, France.
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While a hamstring strain forced Megan Rapinoe to miss the United States’ victory over England in the semifinal of the Women’s World Cup on Tuesday, the winger is confident she will be fit for the final on Sunday. According to a report by The Guardian, Rapinoe originally sustained the injury in the second half of the team’s quarterfinal win over France.

Speaking after the semifinal, Rapinoe described the injury by saying, “It just tightened up a little bit toward the end. Just wasn’t going to be ready for today. But it’s feeling much better and I expect to be ready for the final.”

When reporters pressed her on how confident she was in being ready for the final, Rapinoe reiterated that she knew her body and, based on previous experience, there is no reason she shouldn’t be fighting fit for the final.

When asked to describe the feeling of having to watch the match from the bench, in particular a nervy game for the Americans that saw the English women have a late goal ruled offside then miss a penalty in the final stages, Rapinoe said, “It’s terrible. It’s so stressful. It’s hard. You put everything into this game… You have everything invested in it and no way to get rid of your anxiety.”

Once the final whistle was blown and the United States’ progression was secured, Rapinoe was back in her comfort zone, on the pitch surrounded by her teammates. Rapinoe hugged every single American player on the field, saving her biggest for goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, the woman who saved the penalty and kept the team’s dream alive.

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Rapinoe described Naeher by saying, “That was a huge performance from her, to be in that moment… To make a save like that is just fantastic for her.”

While Rapinoe has proven to be one of the standout players from the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the depth of the United States was highlighted by her absence on Tuesday. Christen Press, the woman who replaced Rapinoe in the lineup, scored after 10 minutes and proved she could play a larger role in the squad. While it is highly unlikely that a healthy Rapinoe would be left on the bench, she did concede that “maybe I just got pushed right to the side.”

It’s not as though Rapinoe hasn’t shouldered the weight when she has played, grabbing five goals in the tournament so far, with four of those in her previous two games. She has also earned headlines off the sports page when she said that she wouldn’t visit the White House if the United States were to win, which prompted President Donald Trump to respond in a tweet.