Megan Rapinoe has received both praise and criticism for her reaction after missing a crucial penalty kick in the U.S. Women’s National Team’s World Cup shootout loss to Sweden.
The USWNT suffered a heartbreaking quarterfinal defeat to Sweden on penalties after a 1-1 draw following extra time. Rapinoe, one of the team’s star players and penalty takers, missed her spot-kick which would have given the U.S. a 3-2 lead in the shootout.
After missing her penalty, Rapinoe was seen laughing on the field with her teammates as the shootout continued. However, after Sweden scored their final penalty to win the shootout, Rapinoe was then seen in tears as the U.S. was eliminated from the World Cup.
Some fans praised Rapinoe’s initial response, seeing it as a sign of her mental strength and ability to quickly refocus after a mistake. However, others criticized Rapinoe, arguing that she should not have been laughing immediately after missing such an important penalty. They saw her reaction as disrespectful to the team and fans.
Rapinoe has not directly addressed the criticism, though she has expressed her disappointment at the team’s early World Cup exit. Teammates have defended Rapinoe, with goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher saying Rapinoe’s laughter was simply a way to “reset” herself mentally after missing the penalty.
The debate highlights the intense pressure and scrutiny that top athletes face after setbacks. While some praised Rapinoe’s resilience, others felt her reaction was inappropriate for such a crucial moment in the World Cup.
Overall, the focus remains on the USWNT’s disappointing loss and early exit from the tournament, rather than on any one player’s reaction in the immediate aftermath.