Former U.S. national team captain and ESPN analyst Julie Foudy decried goalkeeper Hope Solo’s controversial comments on Friday following Team USA’s Olympic elimination against Sweden.
After the game, Solo called the Swedish team “a bunch of cowards,” citing their defensive-minded tactics. Her comments instantly caused controversy, and sparked a response from Sweden coach Pia Sundhage, who coached the U.S. from 2008–2012.
Foudy spoke out about Solo’s stance, as well, when asked on TV for her reaction.
“I shook my head,” Foudy said. “I thought, why is that necessary? There’s a long history and tradition with our national team of respecting others when you lose, so I don’t agree with it at all. I think it’s pretty obvious that Sweden took a tactic that most outmatched teams take in soccer, it’s been happening for centuries in fact.
“They played a lower defensive line, I wouldn’t even call it a bunker because they did come out, it wasn’t like they bunkered the entire game. To call them cowards for playing a tactically smart game is ridiculous and classless, and it really doesn’t represent the house that we built with the U.S. team.”
Foudy played for the U.S. women’s national team from 1987 to 2004, serving as a co-captain and captain for the majority of her career. She won two Women’s World Cups and two Olympic golds, retiring after winning the 2004 Games in Athens.
Solo followed her comments with a statement to SI’s Grant Wahl.
Solo, 35, helped lead the United States to the 2015 World Cup title and also started in goal for the 2012 Olympic team that won gold.
Sweden will play the winner of Brazil and Australia on Tuesday in a semifinal match.