Rapinoe salutes ‘crazy’ comrades after United States retain World Cup

Megan Rapinoe saluted her “crazy” United States team-mates after helping them defend their World Cup title with victory over Holland in the final.

Rapinoe’s second-half penalty and a second from Rose Lavelle secured a 2-0 win for the holders in Lyon and left the 34-year-old lost for words.

Asked what made the team so special, she told Fox Sports: “We’re crazy, that’s what makes us special. We just have no quit in us, we’re so tight and we’ll do anything to win.

From beginning to end. #OneNationOneTeam pic.twitter.com/eXl6LJj7QT

— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 7, 2019

“It’s unbelievable. Just to know all of the people in our group that put in so much work, obviously the players – we have all our friends and family here – it’s surreal.

“I don’t know how to feel right now. It’s ridiculous.”

Rapinoe reserved special praise for rising star Lavelle, whose strike effectively killed off the contest.

She said: “That was what she’s been missing, just that little bit. All tournament, she’s been on the dribble, so dangerous for us. She’s opened up everything for us.

“For her to get that reward tonight on the biggest stage that you possibly can, I’m so proud of her. She’s a superstar not even in the making, she’s a straight-up superstar at this point.”

USA coach Jill Ellis was emotional as she assessed what she had just witnessed.

Ellis said: “This is just an amazing group of players, but an even better group of people, just fantastic resilience, just chemistry.

United States coach Jill Ellis shakes hands with Megan Rapinoe
United States coach Jill Ellis shakes hands with Megan Rapinoe (Francois Mori/PA)

“They’ve put their hearts and souls into this journey and I can’t thank them enough. It’s been fantastic.”

Asked what she had said to her players in a huddle on the pitch shortly after the final whistle, she added: “I could barely speak, but I just said to them they were unbelievable, congratulations, they made history, enjoy it.

“It’s unbelievable. I’ve got no words, I’m sorry.”