Megan Rapinoe may never live this one down.
With Sweden and the USWNT scoreless through 90 minutes and extra time, Rapinoe had a chance to help send the United States to the World Cup quarterfinals when her turn arrived to take a penalty.
But Rapinoe — who had been substituted in for Alex Morgan in the 99th minute — missed the penalty kick in brutal fashion, sending it straight over the net.
Rapinoe laughed and smiled in the aftermath of her miss, her head down in bewilderment as she watched Sweden come back to stun the United States in penalty kicks and eliminate the USWNT before the semifinals for the first time.
“That’s like a sick, sick joke. I’ve never hit it over, when I miss they are saved. That’s why I had that smile on my face,” Rapinoe said. “I’m like, ‘You’ve got to be f–king kidding me.’ I’m going to miss a penalty?’ Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I missed.”
“For me, personally, I’m just like this is dark comedy. I missed a penalty,” Rapinoe — who was used as a substitute throughout the tournament — told Fox Sports in an interview. “This is the balance to the beautiful side of the game. I think it can be cruel and just not our day.”
It had been five years since Rapinoe had last missed a penalty in 2018, that one coming during a NWSL game.
Now, Rapinoe’s storied international career ends on a brutal note.
The USWNT legend retires with two World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019, the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards in 2019 and an Olympic gold medal in 2012.
Rapinoe, who announced prior to the World Cup that she would retire, said the USWNT’s advocacy for social issues may be what she cherishes most about the team.
“I think this team has always fought for so much more, and that’s been the most rewarding part for me,” Rapinoe said Sunday, adding that her most memorable moment might have been hearing “equal pay” chants during the 2019 World Cup final.
“Of course, playing in World Cups and winning championships and doing all that. To know that we’ve used our really special talent to do something that’s changed the world forever, I think that means the most to me.”