Megan Rapinoe offers explanation for laughing after USWNT World Cup penalty miss

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Megan Rapinoe explained why she smiled after missing a penalty at the 2023 World Cup (Image: Chris Putnam/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Megan Rapinoe explained why she smiled after missing a penalty at the 2023 World Cup (Image: Chris Putnam/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Megan Rapinoe has explained why she appeared to laugh after missing her penalty at the World Cup.

The 38-year-old’s final game for the USWNT ended in bitter disappointment as the two-time defending world champions suffered a shock exit in the Round of 16 at the hands of Sweden. The forward took USA's fourth penalty, which would have given them a 4-2 lead in the shootout, but she sent the ball high over the crossbar.

She was heavily criticised for smirking to herself after the missed spot-kick and in the aftermath of a campaign not befitting of a team aiming for their third straight World Cup. Rapinoe has explained her reaction. “That's like a sick, sick joke. I've never hit it over, when I miss they are saved. That's why I had that smile on my face,” she said.

“I'm like, 'You've got to be f***ing kidding me. I'm going to miss a penalty?' I mean, honestly, I can't remember the last time I missed.” After a goalless draw with Sweden following 120 minutes of play, the USWNT were taken to a shootout.

With the score locked at 4-4, Lina Hurtig’s penalty was initially saved by US keeper Alyssa Naeher, but the 35-year-old couldn’t hold on and sent the ball spinning into the air back toward the goal before it crossed the line by the slimmest of margins. After a VAR check, the goal was given and Sweden ran off to celebrate after becoming the first team to knock the US out of the World Cup since Japan defeated them in the 2011 final.

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The loss meant this was the first time the USWNT had lost in the Round of 16 at the World Cup, and an inquest has already begun back home. After the agonising defeat, Rapinoe, who featured as a substitute in every game, told FOX Sports she was pleased with how the team performed.

“I thought we played really well, I am so happy for us that we went out playing the way that we did,” she said. “This is dark comedy, I missed a penalty. This is the balance to the beautiful side of the game. I felt really grateful and joyful and I know this is the end and that is sad. This is the only time I have been in one of these [losing a World Cup match] - it has been an honour.”

Megan Rapinoe offers explanation for laughing after USWNT World Cup penalty missThe USWNT were knocked out of the World Cup in the round of 16 for the first time in their history (Robin Alam/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

One of the most influential names to criticise Rapinoe is former U.S. President Donald Trump, someone who has a somewhat strained relationship with the football player.

“The “shocking and totally unexpected” loss by the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team to Sweden is fully emblematic of what is happening to the our once great Nation under Crooked Joe Biden,” he fumed on social media.

“Many of our players were openly hostile to America - No other country behaved in such a manner, or even close. WOKE EQUALS FAILURE. Nice shot Megan, the USA is going to Hell!!! MAGA.”

Back in 2019, when Trump was still President, Rapinoe left him furious when she vowed not to go to the White House if the national team won the World Cup and Trump then slammed her for being disrespectful.

Liam Llewellyn

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