Angry USA soccer fans rounded on Megan Rapinoe for laughing after she missed a crucial penalty in the World Cup penalty shoot-out against Sweden, which USWNT eventually lost to be knocked out of the tournament.
It meant that Rapinoe, 38, has played her last World Cup game for the USA.
The defending champions crashed out of the World Cup as Sweden’s Lina Hurtig scored the decisive penalty in a dramatic shootout.
Sweden reached the quarter-finals after defending resolutely for long periods during a goalless extra-time draw.
Rapinoe was crying on the field with her devastated teammates in Melbourne after Sweden won but it was her immediate reaction to her own penalty miss that left many fans with little sympathy.
She took USA’s fourth penalty in the shootout to give her team a 4-2 lead in the shootout and blazed her shot high over the crossbar. But as she jogged back to the halfway line, she was – much to the confusion of fans watching back home – smirking and laughing to herself.
“I don’t see what’s funny about this?’ one fan wrote on Twitter in response. ‘The laughing shows how much this team took this as a joke. So much for being a role model for the rest of the team.”
Another said, “I’m generally a Megan Rapinoe fan, but laughing after a missed penalty is not a good look.”
A different USWNT fan said, “Megan Rapinoe laughing after she missed a game winning pk… never happier to see a player retire. Never want to see her on my tv again. What a way to end your career.”
Another USA fan tweeted, “Megan Rapinoe laughing after missing her PK will be in my nightmares. What a joke.
Rapinoe herself spoke to FOX briefly after the game: “I thought we played really well, I am so happy for us that we went out playing the way that we did.
“This is dark comedy, I missed a penalty. This is the balance to the beautiful side of the game.
“I feel really grateful and joyful and I know this is the end and that is sad. This is the only time I have bene in one of these (losing on penalties at a World Cup) – it has been an honor.”