Saturday 17 August 2019

'A little public shame never hurt anyone' - Rapinoe backs booing of FIFA boss as Trump extends congratulations

Captain speaks out over equality as USA retain their World Cup title following 2-0 final win over The Netherlands in Lyon

Megan Rapinoe of the US celebrates with the trophy after winning the Women's World Cup following victory over The Netherlands in the Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France. Photo: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Megan Rapinoe of the US celebrates with the trophy after winning the Women's World Cup following victory over The Netherlands in the Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France. Photo: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Phil Medlicott

Megan Rapinoe wants women's soccer to move to "the next step" after she captained the USA to their fourth World Cup victory in Lyon, France.

Following the 2-0 final victory over The Netherlands, Rapinoe called on world football's governing body FIFA and other authorities to support equality between the men's and women's games.

Rapinoe - who scored her sixth goal of the tournament from the penalty spot to give USA the lead against the Dutch - made the comments after FIFA president Gianni Infantino was booed by spectators in the Groupama Stadium before he handed  over the Women's World Cup trophy.

Chants of "equal pay" also rang out in the stadium.

The USA team embrace after their Women's World Cup final win over the Netherlands at the Groupama Stadium, Lyon. Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
The USA team embrace after their Women's World Cup final win over the Netherlands at the Groupama Stadium, Lyon. Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The 33-year-old Rapinoe is outspoken, as evidenced by her comments when asked about the US team visiting the White House after the tournament.

She is also a fierce advocate of equal rights and is at the forefront of a dispute between the American players and its governing association US Soccer equal pay.

Rapinoe, who plays for Reign FC in the US National WOmen's Soccer League, said she had no issue with the booing of Infantino, insisting FIFA could do more to promote equality in women's football.

"A little public shame never hurt anybody," she said.

"I think everyone is ready for this conversation to move to the next step. I think we're done with: 'Are we worth it? Should we have equal pay? Is the market the same?'

"Everyone’s done with that, fans are done with that, players are done with that. In a lot of ways I think sponsors are done with that. Let’s get to the next point.

"What’s next? How do we support women’s federations and women’s programmes around the world? What can Fifa do to do that?

"What can we do to support the leagues around the world? “We as players, every player at this World Cup, put on the most incredible show that you could ever ask for.

Megan Rapinoe of the USA celebrates with team-mate Alex Morgan after scoring her team's first goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup final. Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
Megan Rapinoe of the USA celebrates with team-mate Alex Morgan after scoring her team's first goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup final. Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

"We cannot do anything more to impress more, to be better ambassadors, to take on more, to play better or do anything."

Rapinoe was named the player of the tournament for her performances over the past month and was presented with the Golden Ball trophy after the final whistle.

Her spot-kick saw her finish alongside team-mate Alex Morgan and England's Ellen White as the tournament's joint top-scorer with six goals.

Meanwhile,  U.S. President Donald Trump praised the women's national soccer team in the wake of their World Cup triumph and said he would look into inviting them to the White House, just days after a spat with the captain.

"Congratulations to the U.S. Women's Soccer Team on winning the World Cup! Great and exciting play. America is proud of you all!" tweeted Trump, who had exchanged barbs with player of the tournament Megan Rapinoe during the finals in France.

After Rapinoe, who led her side to victory on Sunday, told a reporter last month she would not go to the White House if the team were invited, Trump fired off a series of tweets saying: "Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!..."

"Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!"

He went on to promise a White House invitation to the team "win or lose."

However, when asked by reporters on Sunday if Trump would invite the team to the White House, he said, "We haven't really thought about it. We will look at that."

English-born U.S. national team coach Jill Ellis said she would not bet on an invite.

The United States duly claimed their fourth World Cup title with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in Lyon, with goals from Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle.

Former U.S. presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton also tweeted their congratulations, along with numerous other politicians, athletes and celebrities.

Trump also waded into the female athlete pay debate, saying that he "would like to see" women paid as much as their male counterparts, but noted that further study was needed.

Rapinoe on Saturday took aim at world soccer's governing body FIFA over a sizeable gap in the prize money offered to women's World cup champions compared to male winners.

USA: Naeher, O'Hara (Krieger 46), Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn, Mewis, Ertz, Lavelle, Heath (Lloyd 87), Morgan, Rapinoe (Press 78).

Subs Not Used: Harris, Pugh, Brian, Horan, Davidson, Sonnett, Long, McDonald, Franch.

Booked: Dahlkemper.

Goals: Rapinoe 61 pen, Lavelle 69.

Holland: Van Veenendaal, Van Lunteren, Dekker (van de Sanden 73),van der Gragt, Bloodworth, Groenen, van de Donk, Spitse, Beerensteyn,Miedema, Martens (Roord 70). Subs Not Used: Kop,van Dongen, Van Es,Pelova, Renate Jansen, Kaagman, Ellen Jansen, Kerkdijk, van der Most, Geurts.

Booked: Spitse, van der Gragt.

Ref: Stephanie Frappart (Paris).

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