By Martin Gallagher
After her mates beat England in yesterday’s semifinal, Megan Rapinoe said she will be healthy for Sunday’s World Cup final.
Rapinoe did not play in a 2-1 win against England because of what she termed a minor hamstring issue. While U.S. coach Jill Ellis after the game called the injury a “slight strain,” Rapinoe suggested it wasn’t even that severe.
“It’s not really even a strain,” Rapinoe said of her right hamstring after the game. “But not really able to go today. [The team] just felt like it wasn’t going to hold up. We have been talking about this depth that we have for months and months and months and all throughout the tournament. It was on full display tonight.
“We just felt like that was the best option, not only for myself but for the team.”
Christen Press took Rapinoe’s place in the starting lineup and scored the opening goal.
Rapinoe said she sustained the injury in the second half of a quarterfinal win against France but did not immediately leave that game, attempting to play through it for several minutes. She was replaced in the 87th minute after scoring both U.S. goals in a 2-1 win.
She took the field with the team Tuesday night in warmups but did not participate in any drills.
Goals from U.S. teammate Alex Morgan and England’s Ellen White in the semifinal pushed Rapinoe into third place in the race for the Golden Boot as the tournament’s leading scorer. She has five goals in four games, one fewer than Morgan and White.
“I’m expecting to be fit for the final and ready to go,” Rapinoe said. “It’s getting better.”
The U.S. will play the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal between the Netherlands and Sweden. The U.S. already defeated Sweden 2-0 in group play.