Hope Solo wasn’t in such a great mood after Team USA’s loss to the Swedish women’s soccer team at the Rio Olympics on Friday, August 12.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, the goalkeeper slammed the Swedish players when speaking to reporters after the match, in an unsportsmanlike fashion.
“I thought that we played a courageous game. I thought we had many opportunities on goal,” she said, according to Wahl. “I think we showed a lot of heart. We came back from a goal down. I’m very proud of this team. But I also think we played a bunch of cowards. The best 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 why she thought the Swedes played like cowards, Solo clarified: “Sweden dropped off. They didn’t want to open play. They didn’t want to play great soccer. It was a combative game, a physical game. Exactly what they wanted and exactly what their game plan was. … I don’t think they’re going to make it far in the tournament. I think it was very cowardly. But they won. They’re moving on, and we’re going home.”
In response to Solo’s candid remarks, Swedish coach Pia Sundhage reportedly told journalists, “I don’t give a crap. I’m going to Rio, she’s going home.” Sundhage previously coached Team USA in 2008 and 2012.
And that’s not all. According the Los Angeles Times, Sundhage had more stern words for the outspoken Olympian.
“According to Hope Solo, I think you should define what is a good team. Well, usually — especially with the Americans — a good team is when they’re winning,” she said. “And they’re winning all the time. That’s the best team in the world. But for once they didn’t go the whole way through. We won the game. They played more attacking football than we did. We defend very well. … It’s OK to be a coward if you win.”
Solo later took to Twitter to retweet the entirety of her quote from Wahl’s Twitter account, adding her own clarification to fans.
“This was the full context of my comments today,” she wrote. “Thank you @GrantWahl. Losing sucks. I’m really bad at it.”
USA and Sweden remained tied 1–1 through the entire 120 minutes of the game, but USA ultimately lost after the match went to penalty kicks for the first time in Olympic women’s soccer. Team USA was up for its fourth straight gold medal, and Friday’s loss stunned fans worldwide.