United States women’s national team forward Megan Rapinoe has said the team weren’t satisfied with their performance at the Olympics but that they showed another level in their 4-3 bronze medal match win over Australia.
Braces from Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd ensured that goals from Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord and Emily Gielnik weren’t enough for Australia to take the bronze medal.
The U.S. — who had gone into the tournament as gold medal favourites — were knocked out by Canada in the semifinals. The loss marked the first time since 2001 they had lost to their North American rivals and a 3-0 loss to Sweden on the opening day ended a 44-game unbeaten run for the side.
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“I feel great about this win. I was so excited to play this game. I’m not just rebranding it for myself to make it something,” Rapinoe told Telemundo Deportes.
“This is really special. Hardly anyone gets to come to the Olympics to go anything so get the chance to compete for a medal, to get the chance to stand on the podium tomorrow with two other amazing teams in a really difficult year and know how difficult this tournament was for us and how easy it would have been for us to crumble.
“We really didn’t play well the entire tournament and we finally put it together tonight. I’m just bursting with pride for this team.
“We knew all of us had another level to what we showed in this tournament. Nobody was anywhere near satisfied with their play and certainly not us up front and in midfield.
“Everyone just played so big. It was a fun game to play in and I feel like we got to be ourselves today.”
It was a record-breaking match for Lloyd who became the second most-capped player in United States history and the USWNT’s highest Olympic goalscorer with 10 goals.
The 39-year-old didn’t confirm she would be retiring from the national side after the Olympics but said she approached the tournament with a different mindset.
“I think that I’ve had a different mindset going into this one. I haven’t made any official announcement yet but obviously I am at the tail end of my career,” she told a news conference after the game.
“Physically I feel really good. At some point I have to hang up the boots and live life.
“The drive over to the game was different. I was thinking about a lot of thigns and just wanted to do everything possible to help this team win a medal because like I said before, it’s not a little chintzy third place world cup medal. This is a medal that is a different colour but we’re going home with that medal and it is really special.”