Fans of the Sweden women’s soccer team have not forgotten, nor forgiven, American goalkeeper Hope Solo for calling the team “cowards.”
Sweden beat the Americans in penalty kicks in the quarterfinal, a loss that prompted Solo’s tirade against the team, which is coached by former USWNT coach Pia Sundhage.
During Sweden’s match against Brazil in Maracana Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, the badly outnumbered Sweden fans in attendance took delight in their team being there, and Solo being sent home.
“She’s a sore loser,” said Jon Haugland of Lulea, Sweden, who was shirtless and wearing a large Sweden flag draped over his back, as well as a yellow and blue wig on his head. “She’s a very good goalkeeper, but she’s too much trouble for the American team. I think they should cut her.”
Bengt Svensson of Stockholm was similarly blunt about her comments: “She’s a bad loser. That’s it.”
Solo criticized Sweden’s game plan in her postgame comments, saying “They didn’t want to open play. They didn’t want to pass the ball. They didn’t want to play great soccer. It was a combative game, a physical game ... And they tried to counter with longballs.”
What was interesting was that while the Swedish fans weren’t happy with Solo’s comments, they didn’t totally disagree with her basic argument – that the Swedish team plays too defensively.
“The Swedish are not good enough yet to attack,” said Haugland, “but they did what they have to do to win the game.”
Svensson agreed: “I don’t think the Swedish girls have played very well. The Americans have been better for years.”
What all could agree with was that Sweden’s managed Sundhage has been brilliant, and don’t fault her for the game plan.