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Soccer star Carli Lloyd says team didn't 'deserve' gold, but bronze is 'super special'

U.S. soccer stars Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan reflected on winning bronze and what's next for veterans Lloyd and Rapinoe.
/ Source: TODAY

As the players on the U.S. women's national soccer team get set to receive their bronze medals in Tokyo on Friday, three of their biggest stars reflected on finishing third and whether this may be their last Olympics after having entered as the gold medal favorites.

The reigning World Cup champions lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to Canada in the semifinals to knock them out of contention for the gold, but rebounded to beat Australia 4-3 to secure the bronze in what may be the end of a special era of U.S. women's soccer.

Stars Alex Morgan, 32, Carli Lloyd, 39, and Megan Rapinoe, 36, spoke to Craig Melvin in an interview that aired Friday on TODAY about winning the bronze. Lloyd and Rapinoe each scored two goals in the win over Australia to guarantee a medal.

"We're pretty happy," Morgan said. "Obviously we wish we are going away with gold for sure, but I don't think we say that's a disappointment."

"I don't think we personally deserved to even win a gold medal, the way we were playing," Lloyd said. "To have played so well in the last third-place match, to come away with the bronze, we earned that, and I think that's what really makes it super special."

Carli Lloyd celebrates with Megan Rapinoe and her teammates after scoring her second goal in a 4-3 win over Australia that gave the U.S. women's team the bronze in Tokyo. Francois Nel / Getty Images

Lloyd and Rapinoe now face decisions on how much longer they will be playing.

Lloyd became the oldest player on a U.S. Olympic women's soccer roster in history when she made the team for Tokyo. She told TODAY before the Games that she and her husband want to start a family and "that has to somewhat happen sooner rather than later," so she is certainly mulling over the next phase of her life.

Craig asked Lloyd whether she will continue playing after these Olympics.

"I don't know," she said. "That's the million-dollar question I think. I'm going to go home and enjoy myself for several days and just have a conversation with my husband.

Alex Morgan, shown in action in Tokyo, looks to continue to be a mainstay of the U.S. women's national team. Kiichiro Sato / AP

"He is definitely eagerly waiting for me to just switch off and not be as psychotic as I have been."

"Carli, psychotic? No!" Morgan said as they all laughed.

Rapinoe is also facing questions about whether this was the end of her brilliant career. She is engaged to basketball star Sue Bird, who is part of the U.S. women's Olympic basketball team playing for gold in Tokyo.

"Oh, gosh. I'll sit outside with Sue, and we'll probably both be having a conversation similar (to Lloyd)," Rapinoe said. "I feel like I want to keep playing as long as I can and as long as I can play the way that I want to."

Megan Rapinoe, one of the greatest U.S. soccer players of all time, is now mulling over how much longer she wants to play after winning bronze in Tokyo. Elsa / Getty Images

Morgan, Rapinoe and Lloyd have seven Olympic medals among them and have been a key part of the engine that has made the U.S. women's national team a dominant force for a decade, leading to questions of whether the Tokyo Games are the end of an era.

"Oh, gosh, sounds ominous," Rapinoe joked. "We have been very successful for a long time, but it's not like we just go out there and kick back and just crush. This is hard. It's really hard."

The impact of the U.S. women's national team bringing attention to women's soccer has helped the game flourish around the world, raising the question of whether their influence has led to the rest of the world catching up with the U.S.

"It starts with investment and equal opportunity," Morgan said. "When you have those building blocks, then you're gonna have the rest of the world catching up with us, but I think we're still hanging out on top. We still have that No. 1 ranking."

They also have inspired a generation of girls to play soccer, including Craig's own 4-year-old daughter, Sibby.

"We have this platform to do amazing things and we have this incredible fan base, and I think we're doing as much as we can in the sport and in the game, but I think it transcends across sports, and that's what's really great I think with this team," Morgan said.