Dave ClarkReign FC

Rapinoe’s Dominance Integral in Record-Smashing World Cup

Dave ClarkReign FC
Rapinoe’s Dominance Integral in Record-Smashing World Cup

Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe put on a World Cup campaign for the ages en route to helping the United States win its fourth World Cup title. The United States and its players put their names into the record book at every turn as they went a perfect 7-0.

Like the United States, Rapinoe got off to a flying start in the first match against Thailand on June 12. Rapinoe bagged a goal and two assists as the U.S. won 13-0. The match set World Cup records for the largest margin of victory and the most goals scored in a single match, as well as the most individual goal-scorers (seven) in a single match.

The forward did not play in a 3-0 win against Chile on June 16, but Reign FC midfielder Allie Long fulfilled a lifelong dream, making her World Cup debut in the 59th minute.

Rapinoe returned with a lightning-fast start against Sweden on June 20, setting up the game-winning goal with a low corner kick to the near post three minutes into the match. The 2-0 win saw the United States finish the group stage with 18 goals scored, another World Cup record.

The Stars and Stripes found itself locked in a tense battle against Spain in the Round of 16 on June 24. Rapinoe buried two penalty kicks—one early and one late—in a 2-1 win over La Roja.

Rapinoe recorded another brace against host nation France on June 28. The forward scored on a direct free kick in the fifth minute and scored again in the 65th to propel the U.S. WNT to its eighth straight semifinal.

The second brace put Rapinoe into a six-way tie for the record for the most consecutive matches with a brace at the World Cup.

The forward did not play in the United States’ win over England on July 2, missing the match with a hamstring strain. The win assured the U.S. a record fifth finish in the top two, as well as a record third consecutive trip to the final.

Rapinoe returned and netted the game-winner for the United States in a 2-0 win over the Netherlands on July 7, once again converting from the penalty mark in the 61st minute. The Dutch were the first team to prevent the United States from scoring in the first 13 minutes of any match in the tournament.

At 34 years and two days old, Rapinoe became the oldest player to ever score in a World Cup final.

The game-winner meant that Rapinoe finished the tournament with six goals and three assists, earning the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer. Rapinoe is the second American to win the award after Michelle Akers scored 10 goals for the United States in it’s first World Cup title campaign in 1991.

Rapinoe also earned the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament, becoming the third American after Carli Lloyd (2015) and Carin Jennings (1991) previously earned the award. Rapinoe is the fifth Golden Boot winner to also claim the Golden Ball.

The United States’ 26 goals represent the most scored by any country at a World Cup. With just three goals allowed, their goal difference of 23 is also the best-ever mark for a single tournament and leaves the United States with a world-best +100 goal differential across its eight World Cup appearances.

The Stars and Stripes also became the first team in tournament history to win all seven of its matches. The U.S. has now won 12 consecutive World Cup matches and has not lost in its last 17, stretching back to a 2-2 draw against Brazil in 2011.

Jill Ellis is now the only head coach to have won two World Cups. The United States has gone unbeaten in all four of its title-winning years (1991, 1999, 2015, 2019), going a combined 24-0-2 in those competitions.

The win was Rapinoe’s third appearance in a World Cup final. She is tied with Germany’s Birgit Prinz and teammates Tobin Heath, Ali Krieger, Carly Lloyd and Alex Morgan for the most appearances all-time in a championship match.

Rapinoe and midfielder Allie Long will rejoin a Reign FC side that sits at the top of the NWSL table after its 1-0 win over Portland Thorns FC on the road on Friday.