US women’s soccer star Alex Morgan has insisted that her team is ‘still hanging out on top’ as the ‘number one’ in the world – just days after its humiliating 1-0 loss to Canada in the Olympic semi-final.
Morgan, 32, vehemently defended herself and her fellow Team USA players against claims that they have lost their edge, following furious criticism from conservatives in their home nation, who celebrated their loss, while blaming it on their ‘woke’ ideologies.
The US women’s team, which went into the Olympics as the favorite to win gold, suffered a shock defeat to their Canadian neighbors earlier this week – marking the first time that Canada has beaten the American side since 2001.
They managed to salvage their medal hopes in the bronze medal match, during which they beat Australia in order to claim the third-place spot on the podium.
But despite the team’s failure to successfully defend its Olympic title, Morgan insists that they are still the best women’s squad in the world, telling the Today show: ‘We’re pretty happy.
US women’s soccer stars Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and Megan Rapinoe discussed their shock bronze-medal finish at the Olympics during an interview with the Today show on Friday
Denial: Morgan, 32, insisted that the US women’s team is still ‘hanging out on top’ as the ‘number one’ squad in the world despite their shock 1-0 loss to Canada
However Lloyd, 39, admitted that the team ‘didn’t deserve’ the gold medal ‘with the way they played’ in the game against Canada – a team that hadn’t beaten the US since 2001
Rapinoe, 36, hit back at suggestions that the team didn’t work hard enough to defend its Olympic title, saying: ‘It’s not like we just go out there and kick back and crush every [game]’
‘Obviously we wish we were going away with gold for sure, but I don’t think we see [bronze] as a disappointment.’
Looking very relaxed and casual in a navy T-shirt and a tie-dye Team USA bucket hat, Morgan continued: ‘I think we’re still hanging out on top, you know? We still have that number one ranking.’
However, her US teammate Carli Lloyd, 39, admitted that squad ‘didn’t deserve’ to win the gold medal, conceding that their performance in the game against Canada was not worthy of the Olympic title – although she defended their bronze medals, insisting they are all the more ‘special’ because of the disappointment they faced.
‘I don’t think we personally deserved to win a gold medal with the way we were playing,’ she said. ‘To have played so well in the last third place match, to come away with the bronze, we earned that, and I think that’s what makes it super special.’
The team put on a solid performance in the bronze-medal match to defeat Australia, with both Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, 36, scoring twice to clinch the win for the US side.
But while Morgan has defended their bronze medal finish, the team’s loss to Canada was celebrated by American conservatives – including former President Donald Trump, who insisted on Thursday that the squad would have claimed gold, if not for their ‘woke’, ‘leftist’ ideologies.
Upset: The US women’s team was left in tears following the defeat to Canada – which has been celebrated by conservatives in their home nation
Rapinoe (left), Lloyd (right), and the rest of the women’s soccer team have repeatedly drawn the ire of conservatives in recent months because of their outspoken activism
‘If our soccer team, headed by a radical group of Leftist Maniacs, wasn’t woke, they would have won the Gold Medal instead of the Bronze,’ Trump said in the statement released through his Save America 45 PAC.
‘Woke means you lose, everything that is woke goes bad, and our soccer team certainly has.
‘There were, however, a few Patriots standing. Unfortunately, they need more than that respecting our Country and National Anthem. They should replace the wokesters with Patriots and start winning again.’
He also took aim at Megan Rapinoe, 36, specifically, adding: ‘The woman with the purple hair played terribly and spends too much time thinking about Radical Left politics and not doing her job!’
Despite their recent successes, Rapinoe and the rest of the reigning World Cup champions have repeatedly drawn the ire of conservative Americans over their activism.
In addition to protesting racism by kneeling during the national anthem, Rapinoe and many of her teammates have pushed for equal pay with their male counterparts, publicly quarreled with Trump, and preemptively refused to visit the Trump White House to celebrate their 2019 World Cup win.
Morgan said that the team is ‘pretty happy’ with its bronze medal finish, although Rapinoe conceded that they came into the Olympics wanting to ‘win every game’
End of an era? Both Lloyd and Rapinoe admitted that they aren’t sure whether they will continue competing at such an elite level moving forward
Trump and his aides were therefore quick to criticize Rapinoe’s side after many suggested they underachieved during this summer’s Games, with Wayne Dupree hitting out at Rapinoe in the wake of the team’s loss, claiming that the players ‘fell flat on their faces’.
‘Little Ms. Purple Hair and her team of woke warriors fell flat on their faces,’ read an article on the former Trump aide’s website.
‘The US Women’s Soccer Team went WOKE and now they lost to Canada,’ best-selling author and self-described security expert Brigitte Gabriel tweeted. ‘That’s what happens when you put political propaganda before sport and hard work.’
Although the three women’s soccer stars were not asked about the controversy during their Today interview, Rapinoe did take aim at critics who have suggested that they didn’t work hard enough to win the gold medal.
‘We have been very successful for a long time, but it’s not like we just go out there and kick back and just crush every [game]. This is hard, it’s really hard!’ she said.
The soccer star, who is engaged to US women’s basketball player Sue Bird, added that the team did their utmost to defend its Olympic title, saying: ‘You come, you play the game, you want to win, you want to win every game, you want to win.’
Former President Donald Trump issued a statement about the team’s bronze-medal finish on Thursday, insisting they ‘would have won gold’ if they weren’t ‘woke’
Former Trump aide Wayne Dupree hit out at Rapinoe on his website, calling her ‘Little Ms. Purple Hair’ and branding the US women’s squad ‘a team of woke warriors’
When asked whether she plans to continue playing at such an elite level moving forward, Rapinoe said that she is planning to have a conversation with her WNBA star fiancee about their sporting future when they both return home.
‘I’ll sit down with Sue and we’ll probably both be having a conversation that’s similar,’ she said. ‘I want to keep playing as long as I can and as long as I can play the way I want to.’
Lloyd, who is the oldest player on the women’s team, echoed her teammate, saying that she needs to discuss with her husband, golfer Brian Hollins, whether her continued efforts in the sport are sustainable for their family.
‘I don’t know [how many games I have left], that’s the million dollar question,’ she explained. ‘I’m going to go home and enjoy myself for several days and just have a conversation with my husband.
‘He is definitely eagerly awaiting for me to switch off and just not be as psychotic as I have been.’
While the US women’s soccer team had enjoyed a series of successes on the pitch leading up to this year’s Olympics, away from the stadium, they had to grapple with much controversy – not least a judge’s decision to throw out their lawsuit against the US soccer federation over claims that they were underpaid in comparison to the men’s team.