No doubt, Megan Rapinoe has left her mark on the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 ™. In a tournament filled with high-intensity games, perhaps none of the players beat better than the 34-year-old who is now a finalist for The Best FIFA Women’s Player.
Her trophy cabinet is already full, the talisman star has left France with an Adidas Golden Shoe, an Adidas Golden Ball and of course the World Cup Trophy in tow. And who could forget their iconic Torfeier? Feet together, arms outstretched – a picture that defined the swagger of her team.
FIFA.com brings three moments into the limelight, cementing Rapinoe’s place alongside Lucy Bronze and teammate Alex Morgan as a finalist for The Best FIFA Women’s Player.
Survival In The Game
The price of the USA for the first place of their group in France? A knockout round against Spain. “Pinoe” opened the game in the seventh minute with a foul by Tobin Heath on the right side of the 18-yard box. Two minutes later, the guests conceded a loss because they had missed a miss. Jenni Hermoso took the opportunity and from then on La Roja made a rigorous test for the USA.
When Rose Lavelle scored another penalty in the center of the penalty area, Rapinoe restarted in the 75th minute. Her second punch was almost identical to her first, both low and drilled in the left rear corner of the net. The goal drove their team into a quarter-final against the hosts.
Rapinoe, who scored twice in penalties in Reims, shone in Paris with another brace against French heavyweights.
“I think this World Cup [Megan] has increased even more in big moments, and that’s probably one of the toughest tasks,” said team-mate Mallory Pugh to FIFA.com. “She was a real expert and really put the team on her back in those moments.”
After a free-kick in the fifth minute, Rapinoe released a teasing ball that burned under the French defense and appeared untouched in the net, giving the USA a crucial early advantage. In the 65th minute, Rapinoe doubled her goal and the advantage of her team. This clinical result kept France at bay for so long that the US prevailed in a battle of tournament titans.
The Oranjeleeuwinnen brought the USA in Lyon to their limits and kept them goalless as the first team in the first half. It was time for Rapinoe to take command again, this time on the biggest imaginable stage: a World Cup final.
When Alex Morgan scored a penalty for the USA in the second half, Rapinoe’s exploits were almost inevitable, and that was how reliable it was. She left Adidas Golden Glove winner Sari van Veenendaal in position and gave the reigning Champions a head start they would not give.
“We had some incredibly tough games, lots of media attention and pressure,” Rapinoe said after the game. “I think it’s a big reason for us older players to bear this burden and give the younger players the right example of why we were so successful.”
Rapinoe bowed to her masterful performance in France and worked hard to get away with another piece of hardware at the Best FIFA Football Awards on Monday, September 23 in Milan.