Megan Rapinoe Believes USWNT Was Too Restricted in Play at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 08/08/2021, 4:21 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Soccer Football – Women – Quarterfinal – Netherlands v United States – International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan – July 30, 2021. Megan Rapinoe of the United States during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


Megan Rapinoe and the USWNT seemed out of their element in the Tokyo Olympics. The team came into Japan as the best in the world andiron a 43 game unbeaten run. However, the players were greeted with a shocking loss to Sweden which saw them go down 3-0.

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Everything went wrong for the USWNT, with a stacked attacking lineup failing to score and a defensive wall conceding three in one game, the tone was set for the rest of the campaign. Escaping narrow losses (apart from the huge win over New Zealand in the group stages), USA finally met its match in Canada in the semi-finals. 

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Soccer Football – Women – Semifinal – United States v Canada – Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, Ibaraki, Japan – August 2, 2021. Megan Rapinoe of the United States looks dejected as Canada celebrate after the match REUTERS/Edgar Su

Playing as a shadow of its world cup form, the USWNT seemed shaken up the entire time. “I think for us, just playing free,” Megan Rapinoe told Olympics.com, highlighting the key point that was missing from her team in Tokyo.

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“It just felt like we were tight and like a little bit nervous, obviously we didn’t have our groove,” she explained. “And so then things just feel like you’re kind of walking through mud.”

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Soccer Football – Women – Semifinal – United States v Canada – Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, Ibaraki, Japan – August 2, 2021. Janine Beckie of Canada in action with Crystal Dunn of the United States REUTERS/Edgar Su

“It’s not just the goals. It’s not just the great moments. I mean, even just, you know, chatter on the field or picking each other up when you made a bad pass or whatever it is.”

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Megan Rapinoe admits the team was too tight in play

The USWNT managed to edge the Netherlands on penalties to advance to the semi-finals. However, the forwards failed to deliver yet again and an unlucky penalty in the 73rd minute saw Canada stun USA 1-0 to advance and eventually win the finals.  

“I just felt like we were a little… Yeah, just a little heavy and a little tight or something,” Rapinoe said. “So… as you can imagine, there was a lot of talking going on between the semifinal loss and heading into this [Bronze medal] final.”

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Soccer Football – Women – Bronze medal match – Australia v United States – Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, Ibaraki, Japan – August 5, 2021. Megan Rapinoe of the United States celebrates scoring their second goal with Carli Lloyd of the United States, Christen Press of the United States and Crystal Dunn of the United States REUTERS/Edgar Su

The team handled business effectively in the bronze medal match and beat Australia 4-3 to find the podium. Coach Vlatko Andanovski will surely have to review his defensive setup, which has certainly been tested to the limit by the international offense. He will also have to work on his players’ positioning so that they can beat the offside traps, a problem that ruined goal-scoring chances for the team. 

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Luke Dias

1547 articles

Luke Dias is a senior WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports, having published more than 1000 articles on professional wrestling. Having completed courses in Advanced Writing from the University of California and Media and Ethics from the University of Amsterdam, Luke is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Xavier’s College. His tremendous knowledge of WWE history enables him to make past connections, adding depth to the articles.

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