Megan Rapinoe expects to play in World Cup final after missing semi with injury

Megan Rapinoe is not playing against England due to a hamstring injury, according to FOX Sports. (Getty)
Megan Rapinoe is not playing against England due to a hamstring injury, according to FOX Sports. (Getty)

Megan Rapinoe, who did not play in the U.S. women’s national team’s thrilling World Cup semifinal victory over England on Tuesday, expects to be fit for Sunday’s final.

Rapinoe confirmed postgame that her absence was the result of a “slight hamstring injury” sustained late in last Friday’s quarterfinal against France.

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But the USWNT co-captain said that she should be ready to face either Sweden or the Netherlands after four more days of rest.

Rapinoe’s Tuesday absence was a mystery for much of the afternoon, with U.S. Soccer declining to give a reason for it. But Rapinoe had been pictured at training on Monday with medical tape on the back of her right leg:

(AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
(AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

During pregame warmups on Tuesday, she was standing off to the side as her 22 teammates loosened up – hands on hips at times, arms crossed at others. It became clear she would be unavailable.

U.S. head coach Jill Ellis revealed after the match that she left Rapinoe’s absence unexplained because there was an “outside chance” she could have taken a penalty in a shootout if the game had been tied after 120 minutes.

Christen Press started in Rapinoe’s place on the left wing, and scored the first of two U.S. goals in a 2-1 victory.

If Rapinoe returns to the lineup, Press would likely drop back to the bench.

Ellis might have to replace Rose Lavelle, who went down in Tuesday’s second half with what appeared to be a hamstring injury of her own. Sam Mewis would likely replace her. But Lavelle said after Tuesday’s game that her hamstring will be “fine.”

The Americans will meet either the Swedes or the Dutch at 5 p.m. local time – 11 a.m. ET – on Sunday in Lyon.

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Yahoo Sports’ Doug McIntyre contributed reporting from Lyon.

Henry Bushnell is a features writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell, and on Facebook.

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