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Rapinoe wants pay talk in women’s football to ‘move to the next step’

Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle were on the scoresheet as the USA beat Holland 2-0 on Sunday to win the Women’s World Cup.

Megan Rapinoe played a key role as the USA retained their Women’s World Cup title (Francisco Seco/AP)
Megan Rapinoe played a key role as the USA retained their Women’s World Cup title (Francisco Seco/AP)

Megan Rapinoe declared it was time for the conversation about pay in women’s football to move “forward to the next step” after she helped the United States retain their World Cup title.

The holders’ 2-0 victory over Holland in the final in Lyon saw Rapinoe score the opener with a coolly converted 61st-minute penalty before Rose Lavelle added a fine strike eight minutes later.

On the eve of the match Rapinoe had spoken at a pre-match press conference about the gap in prize money between the men’s and women’s World Cups.

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Megan Rapinoe scored the opening goal of the World Cup final against Holland (PA Wire)

On Sunday the 34-year-old was asked what she thought about chants of ‘equal pay’ and boos for FIFA president Gianni Infantino from the crowd after the game.

And Rapinoe – who ended up with the tournament’s Golden Boot for top scorer and Golden Ball award for best player – said: “I think everyone is ready for this conversation to move to the next step.

“I think we’re done with the, ‘Are we worth this, should we have equal pay, are the markets the same?’ Everyone is done with that. Fans are done with that. Players are done with that. In a lot of ways I think sponsors and everyone is done with that.

And a little public shame never hurt anyone right? So I'm down with the boos. Megan Rapinoe

“Let’s get to the next point of what’s next, how do we support women’s federations and women’s programmes around the world, what can FIFA do to do that, what can we do to support the leagues around the world?

“We put on, every player at this World Cup, the most incredible show that you could ever ask for and we can’t do anything more to impress more, to be better ambassadors, to take on more, to play better, to do anything.

“It’s time to move that conversation forward to the next step.”

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino, left, was booed by fans at the stadium (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

She added: “And a little public shame never hurt anyone right? So I’m down with the boos.”

Rapinoe’s goal was her sixth of a tournament in which she was accused of disrespect by US President Donald Trump for having said “I’m not going to the f***ing White House” when asked ahead of the World Cup if she would visit were her team to claim the trophy.

US boss Jill Ellis hailed Rapinoe after the final, saying: “I think Megan was built for this, built for these moments, built to be a spokesperson for others.

“She speaks well, from her heart. I think we need people like that in the game, to be honest, to call things for what they are.

“I think almost the bigger the spotlight the more she shines. Sometimes spotlights can burn people but I think for Megan it just highlights who she is.”

Ellis also said with a smile “I wouldn’t bet on that” when asked about the possibility of being invited to the White House.

President Trump tweeted after the match: “Congratulations to the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team on winning the World Cup! Great and exciting play. America is proud of you all!”

Ellis added: “I’m incredibly proud of these players. I’d like to congratulate Holland on a fantastic tournament, they us gave a heck of a game tonight.

“To our players and our staff, I just want to sincerely thank everybody for what they have done to get us to this point.”

  • 1991: United States
  • 1995: Norway
  • 1999: United States
  • 2003: Germany
  • 2007: Germany
  • 2011: Japan
  • 2015: United States
  • 2019: United States

Ellis, who was born in England, is the first coach to win the trophy twice, and the US are the second team to win it twice in a row, after Germany (2003 and 2007). The Americans have won it a record four times in total.

Holland, the reigning European champions, only had their debut Women’s World Cup finals campaign at the 2015 edition, where they reached the last 16.

Their goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal thwarted the US with a series of excellent first-half saves before the breakthrough came with the penalty, which was awarded via VAR after Stefanie Van Der Gragt made a high-footed challenge on Alex Morgan.

Holland boss Sarina Wiegman was quoted on FIFA.com as saying: “We would have loved to win this final, but we didn’t. Our opponent was better today.

“So we’re second in the world, and I’m very proud of that and for the team and staff. We can improve. We go to the Olympics for the first time in history. There’s high potential in this team.”

PA

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