July 20, 2023 5 min read
We're here with another inside look with Megan after the USWNT advances to the round of 16 with a nailing biting 0-0 draw against Portugal thanks a goal post by Ana Capeta's shot late in the second half which almost sent the U.S. team home and shocking the world. The USWNT has advanced to the Round of 16, finishing second in Group E with five points after one win and two draws, their lowest World Cup total in team history.
Portugal out possessed 56% to 44%, however the U.S. team out shot 17 (6 on target) to 6 shots. Overall, the game was scrappy, foul-heavy and the U.S. attack seemed like a shell of itself compared to previous World Cup teams. However, on this stage you take it one game at a time and they have advanced, which is all that matters. It's on to the next!
Let's hear Megan's response to some key learnings from the group stage games and looking ahead Round of 16.
Meg, you advanced-- congrats! What's your biggest take away coming out of group stage?
Yep, on to the next! Obviously, that was the goal coming out of the group is to get to the knockout round. Moving forward, we're taking our excitement and bottling it into the next game. The goal was to move forward, and we did that. So that's the biggest take away.
With 14 USWNT players completing in their first World Cup, what does the team need to see form them in order to success, and how do you balance the inexperience playing on the world's biggest stage?
I think one of the biggest keys is, it's hard. Every single game is hard and requires different things. There's a lot of positives that we can take, a clean sheet coming out of the last game and defensively we looked solid. It's just about taking every learning from not only Portugal but all the group stage games and being able to implement those learnings moving forward, but it's super important for the young players to focus on one game at a time.
Round of 16, it's looking like you will play Sweden, which is a very familiar opponent of yours. They're looking sharp coming out of group stage, what is the key to success with a team like Sweden?
Ultimately, it's just one game at a time and focusing on the task at hand. We are in the best part of the tournament and everyone is excited for the challenge against Sweden in the round of 16!
We are officially one week away from the World Cup commencing with an exciting New Zealand vs. Norway match up and we're jumping out of our skin over here at Mendi! We love women's sports, we love soccer and we love our very own, Megan Rapinoe. Which is why we want to give you an inside look at Megan's Take for the WC23.
Prior to Megan taking off to New Zealand for her fourth and final World Cup competition, I sat down with her to ask a few more intimate questions about this particular World Cup experience. On July 8th, Megan announced to the world this will be her last season playing professional soccer. Obviously, as her twin sister I knew this announcement was coming, but nevertheless is brought a wave of emotions for myself and our family. Megan shared with the world her heartfelt gratitude for the game, all of the opportunities and possibilities it's provided throughout her career, her deep appreciation for the love and support she's received from family, friends, teammates, the USWNT, the Reign FC organization, and last but certainly not least, to all the fans who have been with her on this wild and wonderful journey. Her heart is full leaving this game and so much of this is due to the profound love and belief she's received from the world over the years.
Meg, you know how incredibly proud I am of you. All that you've accomplished both on and off the field is beyond our wildest dreams. Yet, you often elude to a sentiment that you knew all along this could be. Has this journey surprised you or exceeded any expectations you might have had?
Great question. It's sort of hard to answer because on the one hand the obviously answer is, yes absolutely, this journey has been full of surprises, ups and downs, mostly ups, but it sort of never goes as planned. I had a very clear dream as a child to be an Olympian, then to play in a World Cup, then to play in multiple World Cups. So I guess, my dreams just sort of kept evolving, shifting and growing as I got older and I realized the power of continuing to tap into my potential and believing that being my full self on and off the field will allow me to achieve whatever I set my mind to. I'm so proud of the fact that I've helped to lay the groundwork to inspire the next generation of minds, particularly girls, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC athletes, to believe.
How are you feelings going into your fourth and final World Cup?
I feel ready! I'm always a little anxious and nervous preparing for the WC and during the send-off games, but once I get to the WC I am so amped. My body feels good, I was recovering from a minor calf strain in June, but I am fully recovered and so excited to be going into another WC tournament. This is the biggest stage, the most exciting moment for global soccer, specifically for women's sports and I live for these big moments and cannot wait to see what this World Cup will bring!
What's your biggest take away having three World Cups under your belt?
The biggest take away is that you have to take it one game at a time. Don't look ahead, don't worry about the future, just stay locked in and focused on each game. Every match is so important and winning is everything. In these situations, success is winning, that's it. So, it's critically important for everyone to understand that World Cups aren't won by one individual, it takes a collective effort and everything we do has to be for the betterment of the team. Being a great teammate is paramount in these moments. That's the knowledge and experience I can bring to this group going into my fourth WC.
Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes moments with Megan throughout the tournament. Also, make sure you're locked in for the USA v. Vietnam match on Friday, July 21st, at 6 pm PT. If you live in or around Portland, Mendi is co-hosting a watch party at Spirit of 77!
By: Rachael Rapinoe September 06, 2023 2 min readRead More