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Megan Rapinoe stays woke after Team USA's earliest-ever World Cup elimination, takes solace in her squad's social activism that 'changed the world forever'

  Following   Team USA's earliest-ever World Cup elimination Sunday after a shootout loss to Sweden , U.S. women's soccer veteran Me...

 Following Team USA's earliest-ever World Cup elimination Sunday after a shootout loss to Sweden, U.S. women's soccer veteran Megan Rapinoe — who badly missed a penalty kick during the shootout — took solace in her squad's social activism that she said "changed the world forever."

What are the details?

A reporter asked Rapinoe if a memory stands out to her in regard to how she impacted Team USA over the years, and Rapinoe — who's made a name for herself during that time by espousingleft-wingsocial views — said it was fighting for equal pay with male players.

"I think this team has always fought for so much more, and that's been the most rewarding part for me — of course, playing in World Cups and winning championships and doing all that, but ... to know that we've used our really special talent to do something, you know, that's really like changed the world forever. I think that means the most to me." 

The relevant Q&A starts at the 1:15 mark:

'Sick joke'

After Rapinoe missed her penalty kick in the shootout against Sweden, the outspoken forward walked away, looked downward, and smiled:

So, why the smile?

Rapinoe later explained to a reporter that it felt like "a sick joke. That's why I had that smile on my face. Like, 'You got to be f***ing kidding me. I'm going to miss the penalty?' I honestly can't remember the last [time] I missed a penalty," ESPN noted

Video also showed Rapinoe saying with a laugh that "there's just some dark, dark comedy in me missing a penalty in my last game ever." Rapinoe noted prior to the World Cup that she would retire at the end of the 2023 NWSL season, which made this her final World Cup, ESPN said.

Rapinoe entered the game late against Sweden as a substitute. The score remained 0-0 after regulation, after which the contest went to a penalty-kick shootout. As it turned out, Rapinoe was one of three U.S. players to miss shootout kick attempts before Sweden finally netted one and claimed victory.

After the elimination loss, Yahoo Sports observed that "no U.S. team had ever finished worse than third at the Women’s World Cup; this one will finish something like 12th." The outlet added that no U.S. team had ever scored fewer than 12 goals during a women’s World Cup tournament — and the 2023 team scored only four goals.

Yet at the start of Rapinoe's "changed the world forever" interview above, she said she thought Team USA "played really well."

Many folks were quite happy Team USA lost

As they have in the past, the Team USA women at times seemed to make more headlines about controversial behavior such as not singing the national anthem than their play on the field.

Not surprisingly, a deluge of commenters underneath the Yahoo Sports story on Team USA's loss to Sweden were quite happy the American women were sent packing — mirroring the response when the squad was beaten in the 2021 Olympics. Check out a sampling:

  • "Yay! I was pulling for Sweden the whole time," one commenter wrote. "Congratulations to a team that actually takes pride in and honors their country. As for the other team, couldn't be more well deserved. Entitlement is not the path to take."
  • "This is fantastic!" another commenter declared. "My day has been made."
  • "A heartfelt congrats to the US Women's National Soccer team," another commenter said sarcastically. "In a time of great polarity in the United States, they managed to bring together almost the entire nation, in cheering against them. It's a difficult task to get almost the entire country to agree on something, well done players!"
  • "Great win for Sweden, I'm glad they beat Team USA," another commenter said. "As a retired Army Vet with 20 years in service, I have to say that if you are not with us, you're against us! .... That team doesn't represent us!!!! Once again, Congrats to Sweden!!!!!"
  • "Great news! A NATIONAL team spitting on us all by ignoring our anthem is a disgrace. Don't play for a national team if you don't like the nation. Try that in some other countries and see how well that goes," another commenter said.
  • "Feel good story of the day," another commenter said. "If you don’t wanna stand and passionately belt out our national anthem with some pride like the other countries players then you shouldn’t be sent to represent our country."
  • "Love it," another commenter said. "A more unlikeable team doesn't exist."

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