Weird response to US win deleted
US sports media giant Bleacher Report tweeted - and quickly deleted - a strange image after the United States defeated the Netherlands 2-0 to win its second straight Women's World Cup.
The graphic featured only some members of US Women's National Soccer Team, alongside an array of celebrities including Taylor Swift, Brad Pitt, and Oprah Winfrey, as well as superheroes Captain Marvel and Iron Man.
Using the hashtag, "#OneNationOneTeam," the bizarre photo stumped many, leading social media to raise a collective eyebrow.
"What kind of graphic is this," one user tweeted, along with a laughing face emoji.
"Bleacher Report deleted it, but I need everyone to bask in the glory of the worst graphic of all time," another tweet read.
"@BleacherReport WHAT is the point of this graphic of random celebs. How's this honoring the USWNT? FAIL!!" a tweet read.
While athletes such as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were included, head coach Jill Ellis failed to make the cut.
RAPINOE GETS FINAL SAY IN TRUMP BATTLE
Donald Trump may not have been cheering but the rest of America certainly was as captain Megan Rapinoe led the USA to victory.
Earlier in the tournament Trump said on Twitter Rapinoe was "disrespecting" her country by not singing during the pre-game national anthems and claiming she wouldn't go to the "f***ing White House" if the team was invited. He also told her to concentrate on winning rather than talking.
But for all the headlines her spat with the president generated, Rapinoe made her most important statement on the pitch - helping set up the very win Trump was asking for.
RELATED: Trump, Rapinoe stoush blows up
Just shy of the hour mark in the blockbuster decider, superstar striker Alex Morgan took a tumble inside the area and US fans making up much of the 57,000-strong crowd in Lyon appealed for a penalty. The referee initially blew a corner, but changed her mind and went up to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
After seeing the replay the whistleblower deemed Dutch defender Stefanie van der Gragt had caught Morgan with a high boot and awarded the US a penalty. Rapinoe took responsibility, stepping up to the spot and slotting the ball into the bottom right corner to give America the lead.
Megan Rapinoe puts #USA ahead in the World Cup Final! 🇺🇸— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) July 7, 2019
And of course, it all came about after another big decision from VAR…
62’ USA 1 - 0 Netherlands. #OptusSport #LaGrandeFinale #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/FsuY7YQZe2
After her crucial goal, the 34-year-old reproduced the brilliant celebration she showed off when she scored against France in the quarter-finals, cementing its status as the iconic image of the World Cup.
America had dominated the entire match without managing to find the back of the net up until that point but Rapinoe's goal opened the floodgates. Minutes later Rose Lavelle went on a searing run in the final third, shimmied to wrong-foot her defender and blasted home with her left foot from the edge of the box to double the USA's advantage.
Chances kept coming in the final 15 minutes as Morgan and Crystal Dunn both found themselves in prime position to add to America's tally but failed to convert. It didn't matter though as the Netherlands also failed to beat goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and when the full-time whistle went, every American player and supporter went wild.
Shortly before full-time Rapinoe was substituted off and the crowd gave her a standing ovation, roaring loudly for the woman who's come to represent everything the USA team stands for. Videos of those watching the match on big screens across the States showed the homeland absolutely buzzing and as the end approached, cameras captured an emotional Rapinoe wiping away tears while she prepared to charge onto the field to celebrate.
"It's unbelievable, just to know all of the people in our group that put in so much work … it's surreal," Rapinoe said. "I don't know how to feel right now, it's ridiculous."
The icing on the cake was when Rapinoe received the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards as the World Cup's best player and top scorer, courtesy of her six goals and three assists from five games.
Speaking about her teammate, goalscorer Lavelle said: "I feel so much pride right now. I have learned so much from Megan Rapinoe, I feel so honoured to step on the pitch at the same time as her. She is unreal."
The win ensured the Americans made history by becoming the first team to win back-to-back Women's World Cups and it sure made famous talkshow host Ellen DeGeneres happy.
The US women’s soccer team are the world champions! I’m so happy. These women are the best of what our country represents. You’re welcome on my show any time. My World Cup runneth over. @USWNT #USA #FIFAWWC— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) July 7, 2019
The USA had all the running in the opening stages, maintaining possession in the Netherlands' half and looking threatening.
There was a slight concern for the Americans when Morgan stayed down after a strong challenge early, but a minute later she was back on her feet. The rough and tumble approach of the Dutch resulted in a yellow card for Sherida Spitse after only 10 minutes when she left her feet for a dangerous sliding tackle.
On Twitter, respected American football journalist Grant Wahl said the women in orange were displaying a "nastier streak" than we'd seen previously.
But while the Dutch were up for the fight on the defensive end they were struggling to make an impact with the ball. A couple of forays into enemy territory with through-balls were easily dealt with as team USA maintained its dominance, putting goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal to work several times as she mopped up crosses in the opening 20 minutes.
It was another Dutch through-ball that provided their best chance of the match when Lineth Beerensteyn got in behind the American defence but Naeher came charging out to the edge of her area and cleared the danger away. A thumping volley a couple of minutes later at the opposite end of the pitch from Lavelle forced van Veenendaal to make a brilliant reaction save and she regularly repeated those heroics to be named player of the match.
America really kicked into gear just before the break when van Veenendaal was called upon to make two saves in a matter of seconds. The shot-stopper then made another excellent save when she dived low to her left to keep a Morgan rocket out.
A "sickening thump", as a BBC commentator described it, brought the game to a halt when Kelley O'Hara and Lieke Martens clashed heads while competing for a header. They both lay flat on the turf as medical staff from the two teams rushed onto the field.
O'Hara was adamant she was fine to continue playing but the referee ordered her off the pitch as she and Martens both left to be assessed. O'Hara was replaced by Ali Krieger in the second half.
At halftime BBC pundits discussed the aggressive tactics of the Dutch. British presenter Gabby Logan called it "roughing up" and former American star Hope Solo said: "It's not dirty play, it's just strong, physical play and this is what you need to do to break this American team up."
Ex-England international Alex Scott added: "I like the fact the Dutch are bringing the physical side to it."
The brutality continued in the second half when another head clash to start the stanza left America's Becky Sauerbrunn with blood streaming down her face but the pain was worth it as she and her teammates rejoiced in being crowned World Cup winners.
- with New York Post