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Megan Rapinoe

Rapinoe quiet on future as USA suffer Olympic heartbreak

Kashima (Japan) (AFP) – United States star Megan Rapinoe refused to be drawn on her international future after the world champions suffered a surprise 1-0 loss to Canada in the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympics on Monday.

Rapinoe, a 2012 Olympic champion and two-time World Cup winner, came on as a second-half substitute in Kashima — a role she has grown accustomed to in Japan.

Asked whether Thursday’s bronze medal match would be the last for her country, she replied: “I haven’t really put too much thought into it, I’ll think about it after the tournament.”

“I was wondering how quick that question would come up,” she said with a wry smile. “You guys (the media) are trying to put me out to pasture already.

“We don’t really get the luxury of going kind of one year at a time. We have to think in these four-year blocks, and so I haven’t even thought about that.”

The US arrived in Japan fuelled by the bitter memories of a 2016 quarter-final defeat by Sweden on penalties, but instead again came up short after a first loss to Canada in two decades.

Rapinoe, now 36, was part of the US team that won gold at London 2012, where the Americans beat Canada 4-3 after extra time in the semi-finals en route to a fourth Olympic title.

The US had lost just once over 90 minutes across six previous appearances at the Olympics, but an ageing side was thumped 3-0 by Sweden in their opening game in Tokyo before being bundled out by Canada.

Rapinoe and several of her team-mates are in the twilight of their careers. 

Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath are appearing at their fourth Olympics in Tokyo, with 2019 World Cup winners Christen Press, Alex Morgan, Alyssa Naeher, Becky Sauerbrunn and Kelley O’Hara also in their thirties.

“It’s sad because these (Olympics) only come around every so often, obviously this one with the long build-up, so it’s a tough one. I think this was a little bit of a tough one to swallow,” said Rapinoe.

The 2019 Ballon d’Or winner spoke out in defence of coach Vlatko Andonovski, taking charge of the US at a major tournament for the first time.

“I just think the players have a lot to look at ourselves about. This is not getting on each other, but we need to look at ourselves and we need to perform better, period,” said Rapinoe.

“We’ll bounce back from this, and this will make everyone of those players in the locker room better.”

The US find themselves in the unfamiliar position of fighting for bronze against Australia, but Rapinoe insisted motivation would not be an issue.

“We don’t lose very often and so we typically bounce back pretty well,” she said. “We have a medal to compete for. We had goals of winning a gold medal but any medal is really special.

“We can’t lose sight of that, especially given the year everyone’s gone through and what it’s taken just to be here.

“I think we have a ton still to play for. I think taking home a bronze medal would be a great accomplishment for this team and I don’t think we should just pooh-pooh that away.”

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  1. Jack

    August 2, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    Some of the old players on the USWMT should head out to the sunset and retire. The Carli Lloyd in her prime would have nailed that shot for the tie instead of missing the net.

    As for Rapinoe, I don’t care about her gender and I honestly don’t mind her and other olympic athletes (Biles, Lily King) running their mouth off as long as they’re winning. But when they can’t back up their trash talk with trophies/gold medals, they deserve to be criticized.

    She’s still good as a super sub and penalty kicks but otherwise, shes getting up there in age as well.

    I cheer for Team USA with the exception of Mens Basketball team and the Womens Soccer Team. And it was worth staying up until 3AM to see Canada get revenge for the 2012 semifinal defeat and give USWMT some humble pie.

  2. greg

    August 2, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    I love all of America, even the part of America who are so concerned with patriotism yet don’t seem to know the language well enough the difference between their/there/they’re.

    As for Rapinoe, I doubt she hates anyone, but she certainly doesn’t respect the part of America who would deny her rights because she’s a gay woman, or those refuse to accept that peaceful protest is an inalienable right even for athletes, or who would say she doesn’t deserve equal pay for the same job as her male peers. If I’m disappointed in her for anything it’s doing ads for Subway. But I can’t begrudge her wanting to make a bit more cash.

    And funny how the people most concerned with athletes mixing sport & politics are the most vocal about mixing politics into a sporting discussion here.

  3. Don Dickerson

    August 2, 2021 at 9:21 am

    So 3rd place in the Olympics where you were HEAVY favorites coming in is now something to be proud of.

    I can’t wait for these Olympics to be done with and I hope that the next generation of soccer players will get back to being known for their sport and not there political stances.

    I fear that Women’s soccer is going to be held back because even after M.R. retires she will go straight to ESPN and have a much bigger platform daily to hate on half of America.

    I guess the Americans losing today will make the Gold medal game watchable now for all soccer fans. I just hope Sweden doesn’t jump out to a 3-0 start before half. I’d love to see 2-2 and each get 1 in ET with Sweden winning on PK’s

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