Made For The Big Moments

Megan Rapinoe Embraces the Pressure Heading into Group Stage Finale Against Portugal

Few players in the history of international soccer have embraced pressure packed moments quite like U.S. Women’s National Team forward Megan Rapinoe.

The two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and winner of both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot at the 2019 World Cup has an uncanny ability to thrive in the face of pressure and exuded her trademark energy and confidence heading into the USA’s all-important third group stage game against Portugal (7 p.m. NZT/3 a.m. ET on August 1).


“When you’re at the top, you’re always looking to get better,” said Rapinoe, “There are always things we can work on – tactical things, technical mistakes, game plan or scout areas where we can be better. This is the tournament – this is what it means. This is the pressure of being the number one team in the World Cup and the pressure in general of being at a World Cup. This moment is going to come no matter what.”


Leading Group E with four points and a plus-three goal differential following the July 27 draw against the Netherlands, the USA can advance to the Round of 16 with a win or draw against Portugal. The USA could even advance to the knockout rounds with a loss to the Portuguese and a Vietnam win over the Netherlands, provided the USA keeps its lead of the Dutch in goal differential.

The USA will also win the group with a victory over Portugal and the unlikely occurrence of loss or draw by the Netherlands against Vietnam. The Americans could also top the group with a win and a Netherlands win, provided the Dutch do not catch the USA on goal differential, which is the first tie breaker. If level on goal differential, the next tie breaker is goals scored, followed by fair play points.

While the scenarios abound, Rapinoe and the rest of the team are squarely focused on the task at hand. 

“It’s on to Portugal,” Rapinoe said matter-of-factly. “We still have a chance to top the group and get into the best part of the tournament.”

The best is indeed yet to come.