Rapinoe rallies behind tea-sipping Morgan following celebration criticism

Megan Rapinoe has leapt to Alex Morgan's defence after the United States captain was accused of being "disrespectful" for her tea-sipping celebration in the Women's World Cup semi-final win over England.

Morgan headed in her sixth goal of the tournament in Lyon on Tuesday to seal a 2-1 victory for USA, who advanced to a third-straight final, and she celebrated the winner by pretending to drink tea with her little finger raised.

Some construed that as a shot fired at her opponents given the beverage's popularity in Britain, with England forward Lianne Sanderson, who is working as a pundit for beIN SPORTS at the tournament, calling it "distasteful" and "disrespectful", and television presenter Piers Morgan saying it was "bordering on a declaration of war".

USA players had also come under fire for their goal celebrations in a 13-0 win over Thailand earlier in the tournament, long after the game had already been won, and Rapinoe appeared sick of the latest round of criticism.

"Wah-wah-wah. I mean, it's like, we're at the World Cup – what do you want us to do?" Rapinoe said.

"This is the biggest stage, the biggest moment. I don't think anyone truly believes that we disrespect the game or disrespect our opponents. We have the utmost respect for England and every team that we've faced and every team that we will face forever and ever, that's just part of the DNA of this squad.

"With that said, we work hard, we like to play hard and we like to have fun and enjoy ourselves, and these are the absolute biggest moments to do that."

Rapinoe was one of three players conducting interviews on Wednesday when Jill Ellis' squad were leaving their hotel, with Morgan curiously spotted hot drink in hand as she walked past the cameras to the team bus.

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Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - Semi Final - England v United States - Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France - July 2, 2019 Alex Morgan of the U.S. celebrates scoring their second goal with Rose Lavelle REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - Semi Final - England v United States - Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France - July 2, 2019 Alex Morgan of the U.S. celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - Semi Final - England v United States - Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France - July 2, 2019 Alex Morgan of the U.S. celebrates scoring their second goal as England's Carly Telford and Demi Stokes look dejected REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: The England starting lineup during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: Christen Press of USA celebrates scoring the opening goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: Christen Press of USA (L) celebrates scoring the opening goal with team mates during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: Alex Morgan of USA reacts during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: Lucy Bronze of England during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: Alex Morgan of USA celebrates scoring the winning goal with Tobin Heath during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: Alex Morgan of USA celebrates scoring their 2nd goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: Millie Bright of England is shown her 1st yellow card during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: Alyssa Naeher of USA claims the ball as Ellen White of England looks on during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: England reserve squad poses for photos during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marcio Machado/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: Ettie the mascot of Womens World Cup during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marcio Machado/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: Ellen White of England reacts during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: USA squad celebrates with Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher of United States after winning the match during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marcio Machado/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: Alex Morgan of United States (L) and Allie Long of United States (R) celebrates after winning the match during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Marcio Machado/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 02: Millie Bright of England consoles teammate Jill Scott of England following their team's defeat in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 02, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Ellen White (Birmingham City WFC) of England celebrates after scoring her sides first goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Carly Telford (Chelsea FCW) of England celebrates goal her teammate during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Phillip Neville head coach of England celebretes goal of his team during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Fran Kirby (Chelsea FCW) of England dejected after the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Lucy Bronze (Olympique Lyon) of England dejected after the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Semi Final match between England and USA at Stade de Lyon on July 2, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Despite the storm in a teacup that has followed, Morgan had suggested the pose Rapinoe pulled after her first goal in the quarter-final win over France was the best celebration of the tournament.

"I think I might have been upstaged," Rapinoe said when asked about that comment.

"That was next level from Alex. Maybe we will have to do it at the same time and we'll duke it out!"

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