Megan Rapinoe’s staunch defense of Alex Morgan just might quiet the United States women’s soccer team’s critics.
The U.S. forward defended her teammate from accusations she acted disrespectfully toward 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup opponents, telling reporters Wednesday Morgan’s tea-sipping goal celebration was simply part of the fun of performing well on the sport’s biggest stage.
“Wah, wah, wah,” Rapinoe said. “I mean, we’re at the World Cup, what do you want us to do? This is the biggest stage, the biggest moment. I don’t think anyone truly believes that we disrespect the game or disrespect our opponents. We have the utmost respect for England and every team that we’ve faced and every team that we will face forever and ever. That’s just part of the DNA of the squad.
“With that said, we work hard, we like to play hard and we like have fun and enjoy ourselves, and these are the absolute biggest moments to do that.”
The “tea” celebration Morgan performed Tuesday after she scored what proved to be USA’s winning goal against England in the World Cup semifinals instantly became one of the tournament’s iconic moments. However, Morgan also drew England analysts’ and fans’ ire.
Having already addressed Morgan’s critics, Rapinoe jokingly lamented the fact Morgan displaced her from USA’s 2019 World Cup celebrations summit just one game after she struck a pose during the quarterfinal win over France.
“I think I might have been upstaged,” Rapinoe said, per the New York Post’s Dani Mohr. “That was next-level. That was pretty sharp by Alex. Maybe we’ll have to do it at the same time and we’ll duke it out. That was pretty sharp, though.”
If she recovers from a hamstring problem, Rapinoe will have a chance to snatch back her crown Sunday when USA meets either the Netherlands or Sweden in the World Cup final.
Thumbnail photo via Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports Images