Megan Rapinoe said she has a minor hamstring sprain and feels like she should be ready for the Women's World Cup final on Sunday.
Megan Rapinoe did not play in the U.S. women's national team's 2–1 win against England on Tuesday in the Women's World Cup semifinals in France.
Following the match, Rapinoe said, "I feel like I'll be ready for the final," and she confirmed a "minor strain" to Fox as she explained her absence due to a hamstring injury. The U.S. will take on the winner of Sweden and the Netherlands on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET as the USWNT looks to earn its second-straight title.
Ahead of the game, news of Rapinoe's absence sparked confusion following her successful performance in the Cup so far. A team spokesperson did not want to comment on the decision to keep Rapinoe on the bench and referred questions to head coach Jill Ellis, according to the Washington Post's Steven Goff. U.S. Soccer did clarify, however, that the decision was not disciplinary.
Fox Sports' Rob Stone reported at the half that Rapinoe was out with a hamstring injury.
Christen Press replaced Rapinoe up front, where she played alongside Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath. Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz and Rose Lavelle started in midfield, as well as Lindsey Horan, who returned to the starting lineup.
Rapinoe did not warm up with the team, as can be seen in a video shared by Fox Sports soccer commentator Aly Wagner, which suggested that she's unlikely to play at all in the game.
Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl noted that US Soccer did specify whether or not Rapinoe has an injury, as the organization did with other players during the World Cup.
Rapinoe didn't participate in the warm-up, which would suggest that she's unlikely to play at all in this game. Seems odd that US Soccer wouldn't specify if she has an injury—it did so for Ertz/Sauerbrunn earlier in the WC—and would only say it isn't for disciplinary reasons.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) July 2, 2019
Wahl noted Rapinoe was wearing tape on her right hamstring Monday at practice.
With only two rounds left in the tournament, Rapinoe was tied for the Golden Boot lead with five goals heading into the game. The award is given to the tournament's leading scorer. But Alex Morgan took the lead with six total goals after she scored in the first half against England on Tuesday.
Rapinoe, 33, had one goal in the group stage followed by consecutive braces against Spain and France, respectively, in elimination play. She's tied for the lead as a top scorer after scoring all four of USA's goals in the knockout stage.
Morgan, England's Ellen White and Australia's Sam Kerr all also have five goals leading into the match. Kerr, whose team was eliminated by Norway in penalty kicks, is the only one of the four no longer active in the World Cup. White added another goal to her tally along with Morgan in the first half Tuesday.