USWNT star Rapinoe expects to be fit in time for Women's World Cup final

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The winger missed out on Tuesday's clash with England due to a hamstring issue but says she'll be back in action for the final

Megan Rapinoe says she fully expects to feature in the Women's World Cup final after missing out on Tuesday's semifinal win over England

The winger was a shock omission from manager Jill Ellis' lineup with Christen Press instead selected to start against the Lionesses on the left wing. 

Rapinoe did not warm up with teammates prior to the match, and did not feature as the U.S. went on to top England 2-1 behind goals from Press and Alex Morgan. 

Reports of a hamstring injury began to emerge, but Rapinoe was seen sprinting out to join teammates in their post-game celebrations. 

Following the match, the 33-year-old insists that she will be fine for the upcoming finale against either the Netherlands or Sweden

"Just a minor hamstring," Rapinoe said of the injury after the match. "It’s not really even a strain but not really able to go today, we just felt like it wasn't going to hold up. We have been talking about this depth that we have for months and months and all throughout the tournament it was on full display tonight. It just felt like it was the best option not only for myself but for the team. 

"It happened late in the second half of the France game. It wasn’t like one moment where it cranked up or anything and [I was] able to go 10 or 15 more minutes in the second half. I’m expecting to be fit for the final and ready to go. It’s getting better." 

Ellis also laid out the reasoning behind leaving one of her stars on the bench.  
 

"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 (Christen Press) 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." 

The USWNT boss also played down any talk of secrecy surrounding the decision to sit the winger.  

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

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

The USA picked up another worry during the match in the form of Rose Lavelle.  

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The midfielder was taken out of the match with a knock in the second half, but made it clear she has no plans of missing the final.  

"I’ll be fine," she told reporters. "I’m good. I’ll be fine." 

The USA will take on either Sweden or the Netherland in the World Cup final on Sunday, with the opponent to be determined in Wednesday's semifinal. 

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