VIDEO: Megan Rapinoe & USWNT Talk Winning World Cup & Olympics Back-To-Back
After winning the World Cup in 2019, the United States Women’s Soccer Team were heavily favored as they geared up for the 2020 Olympic Games. After defeating England 2-1 in a very close semi-finals match, the Americans were tasked with facing off against an impressive Netherlands squad on July 7, 2019.
The United States responded with a very convincing 2-0 victory to win the World Cup. After a scoreless first half, Megan Rapinoe broke the tie in the 61st minute. Rose Lavelle scored eight minutes later to clinch the championship for the Americans. The United States has not lost since, keeping a 38-game unbeaten streak alive.
Obviously, the Olympics have been postponed until the summer of 2021. While most would assume that the players would see the time in quarantine during the pandemic as an unhealthy distraction, Megan Rapinoe, Crystal Dunn and Becky Sauerbrunn say that this time has actually been extremely helpful. And now they hope to become the first team in history to win the Olympic Games immediately after winning a World Cup.
“It would be an incredible achievement,” said Dunn. “It would be historical to be the first team to obviously do it… but I think this team is more than capable of being able to do that just given the fact that we had this break to regroup, reset and refocus. I know after 2016, all of us are hungry to get back out there and really show what this team is all about and hopefully bring home a gold medal,” Dunn added.
“For us, this was a nice little silver lining of Covid and the pandemic,” said Rapinoe. “Just to have a year to rest. Some players played a lot, went over seas. Some players, like myself, took more time for themselves, time that we never really get to get our bodies right and just to have that break. I think of all the teams, we probably benefit the most just because we would have been so tired, particularly after all the wildness after 2019.”
In a pre-Olympics friendly match against Sweden, the United States were minutes away from suffering their first loss in over two years. Fortunately, Rapinoe nailed a penalty shot with three minutes left in regulation to finish the game in a 1-1 draw. Perhaps the time off wasn’t as helpful as the Americans think it was. That meeting with Sweden on April 10 snapped the United States’ 16-game winning streak, two short from a program record.
“Honestly, I think we just want to make history,” said Sauerbrunn. “We hold very high standards and have high goals for ourselves. And one of those things is to do it back-to-back.”
Perhaps the draw against Sweden will properly motive the United States Women’s Soccer Team just in time for the Olympic Games.