The US team beat France in the Women’s World Cup quarter-final in a historical game, so what’s next for Megan Rapinoe and her team?
To recap the significance of the match: one team are FIFA’s No. 1 team and three-time champions of the World Cup. The other are the host nation and the fourth best team in the world defending its home turf. It was the clash of the titans as the US took on France in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinal, and no team surrendered without a fight.
US Team captain Megan Rapinoe scored a goal in each half: the first a low free-kick that went in through a crowd of players, the second a side-foot finish. Wendie Renard’s goal gave France some hope in the second half, but it was America who emerged victorious and ensured a place for themselves in the semi-final.
Speaking after the game, Rapinoe was asked to comment on whether it being Pride month made her contribution more personally significant. “Gays rule!” she replied. “You can’t win a championship without gays on your team - it’s never been done before, ever. That’s science, right there.”
She continued: “I’m motivated by people who like me, who are fighting for the same things. I take more energy from that than from trying to prove anyone wrong. That’s draining on yourself. But for me, to be gay and fabulous, during Pride month at the World Cup, is nice.”
She then replied to a second invite to Washington over Twitter, after rejecting Donald Trump’s invitation earlier this week.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had tweeted: “It may not be the White House, but we’d be happy to welcome @mPinoe & the entire #USWMNT for a tour of the House of Representatives anytime they’d like.”
Rapinoe quickly replied: “Consider it done @AOC.”
Rapinoe had previously been asked by soccer magazine Eight by Eight if she was looking forward to visiting the White House if the USWNT won the Women’s World Cup. She replied: “Psssh, I’m not going to the f*****g White House. No. I’m not going to the White House.”
Somewhat predictably, Trump then took to Twitter to hit back at Rapinoe, saying she should “WIN first before she TALKS”. This was the second time that Trump verbally attacked her. In an interview with The Hill, the POTUS decided to comment on Rapinoe’s silence during the national anthem, saying he does not think it’s appropriate for a co-captain of the US women’s soccer team to protest on the pitch.
But, it certainly doesn’t seem to have affected Rapinoe’s game.
“I hope it’s huge and crazy,” she said ahead of the match against France. “That’s what it should be. This is the best game, this is what everybody wanted. I think we want it. It seems like they’re up for it…These are the biggest games you dream about as a kid.”
Rapinoe also said that the USA and France are significantly stronger than they were in 2015. “From where we were four years ago and from where France was four years ago, I think both of us are much stronger teams,” she said. “The women’s game in general has grown tremendously, and I guess the task for each team is to try to be the team that is growing as fast as the game is and keeping up and even being the one that’s pushing the game forward, and, I think, France has done a very good job.”
The US will play England in the semi-final on 2 July, and it’s going to be another big one.