Megan Rapinoe would take the shot again.
That seemed like a safe bet as Rapinoe came on for her shot in the decisive penalty shootout at the end of the USA-Sweden match in the Round of 16 of the Women’s World Cup.
The one who could have helped the Americans stay in the tournament but instead sailed high over the bar.
The one openly mocked by former President Trump and many others after the US was eliminated by the shooting.
More than two weeks later, Rapinoe says she wouldn’t hesitate to get involved if such a moment should happen again.
“I would take that again,” Rapinoe said the Atlantic.
“I’ve thought long and hard about missing one at a really big moment. What are you going to do? The only thing you could do is not take one. I will not do that. I’d rather get up and be in that moment. And I think that’s something that made the criticism after that loss feel particularly wrong and disingenuous and absurd and outrageous to me. It’s like you’re hitting me for going out and doing my best?”
Rapinoe has announced that she will be retiring at the end of the NWSL season. That miss might be the last we see the 38-year-old representing the United States, but he certainly won’t derail a Hall of Famer career that has spanned more than 200 appearances, 63 goals and two world titles and a world cup Golden boot.
That didn’t stop Trump, however, from speaking out on social media shortly after America’s first exit from a World Cup in a post that appeared to have more to do with the politics of Rapinoe and her teammates than football.
“The ‘shocking and totally unexpected’ loss of the USA women’s soccer team to Sweden is emblematic of what is happening to our once great nation under Crooked Joe Biden.” wrote Trumpwho also clashed with Rapinoe at the team’s World Championship run in 2019.
“Many of our players were openly hostile to America – no other country was like that, or even close. Waking up is synonymous with an error. Nice shot Megan, USA is going to hell!!!”
In the Atlantic interview, Rapinoe said Trump’s post was “a conglomeration of buzzwords and buzzwords that actually don’t make any sense at all or are totally inconsistent with reality.” She compared this to much of the criticism she and her teammates received during the World Cup received, including from Fox Sports analyst Alexi Lalas and former US player Carli Lloyd.
“I think the way our team was talked about throughout the tournament was fake in general,” Rapinoe said. “And it didn’t make any sense to me. In 2019 we were supremely confident, supremely confident – and won it all. And although we won, according to our critics, we made it tasteless. This time we weren’t confident enough and we don’t have the right “mentality”. And that’s how we lost. It’s just so disingenuous. There is no way for us to win and there is no way for us to lose.”
Rapinoe, who was a leading figure in America’s women’s successful fight against her own federation for equal pay and equal working conditions, also commented on the actions of Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales, who had apologized for killing player Jenni Hermoso meanwhile kissing on the lips the medal ceremony after Spain beat England in Sunday’s World Cup final.
“What upside down world are we?” said Rapinoe. “On the biggest stage to party, Jenni needs to be physically assaulted by this guy.”
She later said in the interview: “What has been clear to me for a long time is that we are playing two games at the same time. First, we all play against each other. And then there’s the other thing: we all play together for equality and progress and to get what we deserve.
“We want these other teams to be paid equally and have the resources they deserve and not be subject to misogyny, racism and sexism. If that comes at the expense of our own dominance, yes, we want that.”