United States women’s national soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo lashed out following the team’s devastating, medal hopes-ending Olympics loss Friday, calling the victorious Swedish squad “a bunch of cowards” in a postgame interview.
“The best team did not win today,” Solo added. “I strongly and firmly believe that. I think you saw American heart.” In a tweet that added context to Solo’s fiery quotes, the goalkeeper wrote, “Losing sucks. I’m really bad at it.”
Solo’s harsh words stemmed from the game plan the Swedish team employed in defeating the American squad. According to the New York Times, Sweden manager Pia Sundhage, who previously coached the U.S. women’s team, knew that the Swedish side lacked the talent of the Americans, who won the previous three gold medals in the event. As a result, Sundhage’s strategy involved Team Sweden tightening on defense while waiting for any opportunities the Americans provided.
“Sweden dropped off. They didn’t want to open play. They didn’t want to pass the ball,” Solo continued after the Americans’ shocking loss. “They didn’t want to play great soccer.”
Told of Solo’s postgame comments, Sundhage fired back, “I don’t give a crap. I’m going to Rio, she’s going home.”
Solo’s Rio journey got off to rough start after the goalkeeper tweeted photos poking fun at Brazil’s Zika virus outbreak in July, months after she threatened to skip the Olympics entirely due to the disease. The tweets went viral and made Solo the home crowd’s villain; throughout the U.S. team’s shortened stay, the Rio crowds taunted Solo with chants of “Zika virus.”
Following her postgame “cowards” comments, Solo admitted to being a sore loser in a statement to ESPN. “I’ve won and lost a lot of games in my life. And not all wins have been pretty,” Solo said. “Sometimes it’s just finding a way to win that matters and tonight Sweden found a way to beat us.”