Hope Solo has had an interesting Olympics - to put it mildly.
The American shot putter waited until her last throw to knock off arguably the best woman to ever compete in the event - two-time defending champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand. A tied score of 1-1 at the end of overtime led to a shoot-out, and Sweden stole the game from the heavily-favored Americans. The sport joined the Olympics at the 1996 Atlanta Games, with the US winning the first gold medal.
"And I also think we played a bunch of cowards". Replays show that Sweden's goal should've been counted.
The US have dominated women's football at the Games, winning four of five editions and the last three straight, but came undone in a sparsely attended Mane Garrincha Stadium.
"I think it's pretty obvious that Sweden took a tactic that most outmatched teams take in soccer".
"I also think we played a bunch of cowards". The best team did not win [Friday]. "You saw us give everything we had". "I don't believe they're going to make it far in the competition". "I think it's something that happens automatically, you get really inspired and focused. They're moving on and we're going home".
Sundhage, who is Swedish, coached the US from 2008 until 2012, when she became coach for Sweden. I get that she's frustrated, I get that that's maybe not the result she wanted, but I disagree with her fully, wholeheartedly.
The hopes of becoming the first team to win the Olympics following a World Cup are also dashed.
Solo, who has endured near-constant taunts of "Zika!". Guessing correctly on Sweden's third shot, she leaped to her right to swat away the ball.
Sweden will now face either hosts Brazil, who thrashed them 5-1 in the group stages, or Australia in Tuesday's semi-final in Rio. It was just her second worldwide goal, and Sundhage reacted by high-fiving her assistants on the bench. "And they tried to counter with long balls".
In a career that includes 202 appearances and 103 shutouts, Solo has won two gold medals and a World Cup. It was not to be.
"Sweden dropped off. They didn't want to open play", Solo said, explaining why she criticized her opponents. "It was a combative game, a physical game". They had a game plan and they stuck to it.
Fairly or not, few would be surprised that the worst act of sportsmanship at the Rio Games was perpetrated by an American athlete. The wastefulness by the U.S. finally caught up to them as Sweden stunned everyone in the stadium by taking the lead. Sundhage was a player on the Sweden team that fell 2-1 to the Americans.
When confronted with Solo's comments, Sundhage wasted little time on them. But for once they didn't go the whole way through.
The Americans won their 48th consecutive worldwide tournament game, but it was anything but easy.
Solo said the Swedes were cowardly for declining to play a more aggressive, free-flowing style of soccer. We defend very well. The U.S. won silver in 2000.
"It is ok to be coward if you win", Sundhage shot back.
The Americans went down, 1-0, when Stina Blackstenius scored in the 61st minute. Alex Morgan scored the equalizer in the 78th and the match went to extra time. Sweden did enough in 120 minutes of soccer and the penalty shootout to advance to the Olympic semifinals.
"They didn't try and press".