United States Women's National Team Star Megan Rapinoe told reporters she'll be ready for Sunday's 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup final in Lyon.
The winger, 33, missed Tuesday's 2-1 semifinal win over England with what she told reporters was a minor hamstring injury. Coach Jill Ellis left Rapinoe out of Tuesday's starting XI, but did not reveal why until after the match.
Rapinoe says she is day to day with minor hamstring strain. Thinks she will be ready for final. #WWCup— Jay Cohen (@jcohenap) July 2, 2019
Megan Rapinoe said she picked up a minor hamstring injury late in the second half against France. She said it’s “not even really a strain.” She said she’s expecting to be fit for the final.— Andrew Keh (@andrewkeh) July 2, 2019
Christen Press started in Rapinoe's place and gave the USWNT a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute. Ellis kept the reasoning for starting Press close to the vest before the match, but revealed to reporters that she would have substituted Rapinoe had the match gone to penalties.
"I feel we have a deep bench and called upon another player and thought they did a fantastic job," Ellis told reporters in Lyon (via CNN).
Multiple reporters noticed that Rapinoe did not warm up with her teammates before the game or at halftime. She did, however, dance to "Macarena" as it played over the Parc Olympique Lyonnais.
All eyes have been on Rapinoe in the knockout stage. She scored two goals against Spain in the Round of 16, then drew international attention when Eight by Eight magazine tweeted a video of her from January saying she's "not going to the f---king White House" last week. A day later, President Donald Trump scolded Rapinoe for the comments, but she told reporters on the eve of last Friday's quarterfinal against France that she "[stood] by the comments."
In said quarterfinal, Rapinoe scored two goals and led the Americans to a win over the hosts. Although she did not feature in Tuesday's win over England, she told Fox Sports' Karina Leblanc she was impressed by her teammates' resolve amid all the noise from the outside.
"I feel like we are uncrackable."— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2019
Megan Rapinoe talked to @karinaleblanc after watching her @USWNT teammates advance to another #FIFAWWC final.
(You can breathe now, @mPinoe 😅) pic.twitter.com/6eJoG9CWnF
"Just as a footballer, obviously, to get to the highest stage, to get to the biggest game -- that's what you go for on this team," Rapinoe told Leblanc. "It's always win or bust. For everything else that all of us fight for, I know I'm very vocal about things but the whole team is [also] in its own right and to be as good as we are, and as consistent as we are with the pressure and the eyes on us at all times and just ... I just feel like we're uncrackable in so many ways. Even just to get to another final and stand on the stage with my team is the proudest moment ever."
Rapinoe and her teammates have one more chance to top it. The USWNT will kick off against the winner of Wednesday's match between Sweden and the Netherlands on Sunday in Lyon.
If the Americans win, they'll clinch the country's second consecutive title and fourth overall. As it stands now, Germany is the only nation that has won two straight World Cups.