3. Megan Rapinoe
It’s fair to say Megan Rapinoe saved her best for the biggest occasion. Her domestic year amounted to a handful of games and no goals, but the two weeks in which she led the USA to a World Cup triumph live long in the memory. At 33, Rapinoe used her skill, movement and precision to be so devastating in the biggest moments in France. She kept her calm to slot home two penalties against Spain in the second round before her pinnacle came in the big quarter-final against hosts France in front of a partisan Parisian crowd. Her early free-kick and subsequent iconic celebration set the tone for a night that would be hers and hers only. A second half tap-in at the back post sent the hosts packing and while she was a surprise omission for the semi-final, the left winger returned to have the first say in the final against the Netherlands just two days after her 34th birthday, cooly slotting home a penalty early in the second half to set the USA on their way. Rapinoe’s year polarises opinion due to her lack of match action elsewhere, but there can be no arguments few had a bigger influence on the USA’s back-to-back World Cup success than Rapinoe.
Vlatko Andonovski, USA head coach:
“Megan is a special person and player. Her ability to change games through her creativity on the ball, from the run of play with her passing and world class striking on goal, and on set plays where she is especially dangerous, makes her an important part of any team she is on. Her personality and leadership also help create a positive team chemistry as she always admired by her teammates.”
|⇐ 4. Ada Hegerberg||2. Lucy Bronze ⇒|