United States co-captain Megan Rapinoe does not believe “many, if any” of the squad would accept an invitation to visit the White House after the World Cup final.
The holders take on Holland in Lyon on Sunday looking to defend their crown and deliver a fourth World Cup title after edging past England in their semi-final clash.
US President Donald Trump criticised the midfielder for her X-rated response in a video clip when asked about the team’s celebration plans should they go on to lift the trophy.
"I feel like I’m a mother watching all my little kids be successful" 😍@mPinoe became emotional as she hailed the @USWNT and its breakout stars at this #FIFAWWC@FIFAWWC_USA | #LaGrandeFinale— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) July 6, 2019
President Trump also wrote on Twitter that he would be “inviting the TEAM, win or lose” while adding “Megan should never disrespect our country, the White House, or our flag”.
The subject was raised again as Rapinoe fronted a pre-match media conference ahead of Sunday’s final, when she was asked if the team were planning to accept the invitation.
“I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to everyone about it,” Rapinoe said.
“Not myself, not Ali Krieger and I suspect not many, if any, of the other players, but I haven’t spoken to everyone about it.”
Focus, footy and sunscreen ☀️— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 6, 2019
Rapinoe is expected to be fit for the final, having not played against England as the 34-year-old Reign FC captain manages a hamstring problem.
The midfielder has been left less than impressed by Sunday’s showpeice match at Stade de Lyon being played on the same day as both the Copa America final, where hosts Brazil face Peru, and the US men’s team’s CONCACAF Gold Cup final against Mexico in Chicago.
“It is terrible scheduling for everyone. As people who work in football, play in football, that is a terrible idea to put everything on the same day,” Rapinoe said at a press conference broadcast by FIFA’s website.
“Obviously there are two other finals going on but this is the World Cup final – this is like, cancel everything day. So no, I don’t know how it happened, I read somewhere that they said they just didn’t think about it – that’s a bit of a problem.
“The World Cup final is set so far in advance it is actually unbelievable. So no I don’t think that we feel the same level of respect, certainly that FIFA has for the men and just in general.”
FIFA, however, maintained full discussions had taken place around any logistical issues.
“The scheduling of the different events has gone through a comprehensive consultancy process that has involved all key stakeholders and taken into account different aspects of both the women’s and men’s international match calendars,” a FIFA spokesperson said in a statement to PA.
“FIFA and the confederations have discussed the respective match schedules in general to minimise any potential timing clashes.”
Holland, who won won Euro 2017 on home soil, needed extra time to edge past Sweden 1-0.
US head coach Jill Ellis said: “The Netherlands are a tremendous team, they’re European champions, they’ve got a lot of talented players and a coach who knows what she’s doing.
“They move the ball very well, they’re very disciplined in what they do, so I expect it to be a very good match.”
Best fans in the world. This is your captain speaking 🎙 Are you ready for the final? We are! 🚀 Enjoy tomorrow! 🧡 #onzejacht#fifawwc#daretoshinepic.twitter.com/vzlkPaDlEe— Sari van Veenendaal (@SarivVeenendaal) July 6, 2019
Despite the US being favourites, Dutch head coach Sarina Wiegman maintains her team can cause an upset.
She said at a press conference: “We will need to stay focused and be sharp during the entire game. We have to perform even better than we have done so far.”
Holland captain Sari Van Veenendaal, the Arsenal goalkeeper, added: “The USA have great strikers, but we know what to expect and have a great striker too in Vivianne Miedema.”
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