The United States was upset by Sweden in the women’s soccer quarterfinals Friday at Rio 2016, but it was the post-game comments from American goaltender Hope Solo that stole the spotlight.
Tied 1-1 after 90 minutes of regulation plus an additional half hour of extra time, the teams went to a penalty shootout in which Solo allowed four goals and her teammates only managed to score three. Solo, to no avail, even seemingly attempted to ice Sweden’s final kicker by switching up her gloves and causing a delay. After the loss, Solo ripped into the way Sweden played.
“I thought that we played a courageous game,” Solo said via Grant Wahl of FOX Sports. “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 didn’t win today. I strongly believe that. I think you saw American heart. You saw us give everything we had today.”
Solo is one of the most well-known soccer players in the United States but she’s also a polarizing figure so people listen when she speaks her mind.
“Sweden dropped off. They didn’t want to open play. They didn’t want to pass the ball. They didn’t want to play great soccer,” Solo said. “It was a combative game, a physical game. Exactly what they wanted and exactly what their game plan 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 long balls. We had that style of play when Pia was our coach.”
Sweden’s coach, Pia Sundhage, who actually coached Team USA from 2008-2012, fired back at Solo afterwards.
Solo added: “I don’t think they’re going to make it very far in the tournament. I think it was very cowardly. But they won. They’re moving on, and we’re going home.”
Sweden will play the winner of Brazil vs. Australia in the semifinals.
Rio 2016 marks the first Games the U.S. women’s soccer team will fail to win a medal. They had previously won gold at London 2012, Beijing 2008, Athens 2004, silver at Sydney 2000 and gold in Atlanta in 1996 when women’s soccer was first included at the Olympics.