For Herself, Rapinoe Sees Dark Humor in Missed Shot

Retiring star says she's experience agony and joy in soccer
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2023 2:30 PM CDT
Rapinoe Sees 'Dark Comedy,' Life's Balance in Her Miss
Megan Rapinoe, right, and her teammates react to their loss to Sweden in their World Cup match Sunday in Melbourne, Australia.   (AP Photo/Scott Barbour)

Before Sunday, Megan Rapinoe could not remember the last time she missed a penalty shot. In the final of the 2019 World Cup, her penalty kick was the clincher. But in the shootout Sunday against Sweden, her final World Cup match, Rapinoe's shot sailed over the crossbar. The US women's soccer team lost 5-4 on penalty kicks after playing to a scoreless draw in regulation. After her miss, the agony drew a rueful smile from the retiring star, the New York Times reports. "This is like a sick joke for me personally, this is a dark comedy that I missed a penalty," Rapinoe said later, per the Guardian. "This is the balance to the beautiful side of the game."

Rapinoe felt better for her teammates. "I'm really happy for us that we went out like that, playing the way we did, having a ton of joy on the ball," she told Fox Sports. It's the first time the US team hasn't made it at least as far as the tournament's semi-finals. Alex Morgan, who also was seeking her third World Cup title, found the defeat surreal, as well. "I'm devastated, it feels like a bad dream," Morgan said. "I feel like we dominated tonight but it doesn't matter."

Of seeing the dark humor in her miss, Rapinoe said, "I joke too often, always in the wrong places and inappropriately, so maybe this is ha-ha at the end." After the shot, per ESPN, Rapinoe said she was thinking along the lines of "You must be kidding me." She also referred again to the balance of existence. "Well, now that I'm 38 and in therapy, I was like, 'This is life,'" she said, with even her pain serving as a reminder of how much she's loved playing "for this team and this country." Rapinoe added, "Yeah, this has been an honor." (More Team USA (soccer) stories.)

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