The US women’s soccer team suffered a shocking loss to Sweden in the Olympic quarterfinal, ending their pursuit of a gold medal.
After the match remained tied at 1-1 through 120 minutes, it went to penalty kicks for the first time in women’s Olympic soccer history.
From there, the US went through a brutal meltdown. Alex Morgan’s shot was saved, and Christen Press’ shot sailed over the net. Although Hope Solo managed to save one of Sweden’s shots, it wasn’t enough, and Sweden advanced.
Afterward, Solo was less than complimentary of the Swedish team, ripping their style of play and saying they didn’t deserve to win (via Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl).
“I thought that we played a courageous game. I thought we had many opportunities on goal. I think we showed a lot of heart. We came back from a goal down. I’m very proud of this team. But I also think we played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I strongly believe that. I think you saw American heart. You saw us give everything we had today.”
When asked why Sweden played like “cowards,” she continued:
“Sweden dropped off. They didn’t want to open play. They didn’t want to play great soccer. It was a combative game, a physical game. Exactly what they wanted and exactly what their gameplan was. They dropped into a 50. They didn’t try and press. They didn’t want to open the game. And they tried to counter with longballs. We had that style of play when Pia [Sundhage] was our coach. I don’t think they’re going make it far in the tournament. I think it was very cowardly. But they won. They’re moving on, and we’re going home.”
While Solo is entitled to her critiques of another team’s style of play, it’s also not a great look. Sweden chose to play conservatively, and ultimately, it worked for them.
Both teams had their opportunities in extra time. Carli Lloyd had a header that found the back of the net waved off after she pulled down a defender to get to the ball. Sweden also had a goal waved off after it was (questionably) called offsides.
Solo, as any athlete would be, is likely heated about the tough loss, but it isn’t the most gracious way to bow out, either.
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