United States women’s national soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo didn’t mince words after her team’s defeat to Sweden on Friday.
Team USA, the defending gold medalists, crashed out of Olympic competition with a quarterfinal loss on penalty kicks. But Solo said her team didn't deserve to lose.
"I thought that we played a courageous game. I thought we had many opportunities on goal. I think we showed a lot of heart," Solo said, according to SI.com's Grant Wahl. "We came back from a goal down. I'm very proud of this team.
"And I also think we played a bunch of cowards. The better 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 to explain why she felt Sweden played cowardly, Solo criticized their gameplan.
"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," she said. "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."
Sweden, which is currently coached by Sundhage, opened the scoring in the 61st minute courtesy of Stina Blackstenius, but Alex Morgan equalized for the United States in the 77th minute. After neither team broke through in extra time—each side had a goal questionably disallowed for offside—Sweden prevailed in penalty kicks, with Alex Morgan and Christen Press failing to convert for the U.S.
Solo thinks Sweden's jubilation will be short-lived.
"I don't think they're going to make it far in the tournament. I think it was very cowardly," Solo said. "But they won. They're moving on, and we're going home."
The goalkeeper followed up later with a statement to Wahl.
Solo helped lead the United States to the 2015 World Cup title, and she also served as goalkeeper for the 2012 Olympic team that won the gold medal.