PARIS (AFP) - United States women's World Cup co-captain Megan Rapinoe on Thursday (June 27) urged her teammates to join her boycott of a White House visit following fierce criticism from President Donald Trump.
Trump accused Rapinoe of "disrespect" on Wednesday after a video emerged of her saying, in an interview with football magazine Eight by Eight, that she would not be "going to the f***ing White House".
Rapinoe refused to back down from the comments when she gave a news conference on Thursday, on the eve of the USA's quarter-final against host nation France.
"I stand by the comment I made about not going to the White House, with the exception of the expletive, my mum wouldn't be very happy about that," Rapinoe told reporters.
"Considering how much time and effort and pride that we take in the platform that we have," she said, "I don't think that I would go and I would encourage my team mates to think about giving that platform or having that coopted by an administration that doesn't feel the same way and doesn't fight for the same things we fight for."
The clash with the French in Paris on Friday promises to be the one of the highest-profile women's matches in recent years.
Coach Jill Ellis insisted that the controversy would not derail her side's efforts to retain their crown as world champions and best team on the planet in face of what promises to be a feverish atmosphere at the Parc des Princes.
"I'm not around them all the time so I don't know what they're saying, but at the end of th day, on the training ground, in meeting rooms, focus has been phenomenal," she said.
"Our players are just ready to face the first and second balls and really get after it."