Ellis: Rapinoe could have taken penalty if USA-England had gone to a shoot-out

By Sports Desk July 02, 2019

Megan Rapinoe's hamstring strain prevented her from starting the United States' semi-final against England, but Jill Ellis said she may have called on her if the game had gone to a penalty shoot-out.

There was a notable omission from USA's starting XI when it was revealed prior to kick-off, Rapinoe only among the substitutes despite scoring braces in back-to-back games to fire the defending champions to the last four.

Curiously, there was no explanation for the outspoken Rapinoe's absence, though the fact she only watched on during the pre-match warm-up suggested something was amiss.

Ellis' team did not miss their star forward too much, though, Rapinoe's replacement Christen Press scoring the first goal and Alex Morgan the winner as England, who had levelled through Ellen White in the first half, were beaten 2-1 in Lyon.

Rapinoe said herself she expects to be ready for Sunday's final and Ellis conceded that despite her injury, she would have considered calling upon her penalty expertise if a shoot-out was required.

"Megan's got a slight strain to her hamstring so wasn't available today," Ellis said at a news conference.

"Obviously I feel we have a really good, deep bench and called upon other players and I think they did a fantastic job. Yeah, [it's] a hamstring strain.

"I thought Pressy did fantastic. There was an outside chance Rapinoe could take a penalty, so thereby we didn't want to extend ourselves more than we had to in terms of giving our starting XI when we needed to.

"Every coach wants to keep their cards as close to their chest as possible, fortunately we didn't have to go to penalty kicks but that was an option, potentially.

"I don't know about secrecy. We released it when we were supposed to release it.

"Once she was warming up, I think you could figure it out."

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