Indeed, who was the coward?

The USA's record in women's soccer at the Olympics is unparalleled. Even with its shootout loss to Sweden on Friday, it will head home from Brazil with a haul of four gold medals in six competitions and a record of one defeat after regulation in 32 games.

There was nothing shameful about how the USA played in Brasilia, just how goalkeeper Hope Solo reacted when the chips were down.

Whatever you think of Sweden's tactics, former national team star Julie Foudy, now an ESPN reporter and analysis, said, to call the Swedes cowards, as Solo did, "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.”

USA Today's Nancy Armour termed Solo an "embarrassment to both her team and her country." It didn't matter how the USA lost. "They could have played a woman or two down," Armour added, "bloodied and bruised and it would not excuse Solo acting like a poor loser and taking potshots at an opponent."

Even before she arrived in Brazil, Solo's Olympic year was not going well. There was nothing wrong with her questioning whether if was safe for her to Brazil because of the outbreak of the Zika virus. She ended up going while others like golf stars Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy pulled out, citing fears about the Zika virus.

Solo was wrong for making what seemed to be a joke of the fears, tweeting a pair of photos with the hashtag #zikaproof, one of her covered in funny-looking anti-mosquito gear, the other of mosquito repellent spread all over a bed, and she became enemy No. 1 of Brazilian fans who booed her everywhere she went.

Solo said she was not affected by the boos. She had a great game against France, helping the USA escape with a 1-0 win in a match it was dominated, but she had a horrible game against upstart Colombia, making Catalina Usme an overnight star when she allowed the Cafetera to beat her twice on free kicks in their 2-2 tie.

You could argue whether Solo should have done better on the Swedish goal scored by 20-year-old Stina Blackstenius. But just as shameful as Solo's reaction to the USA's exit was was how she acted when the USA was down to its last chance, Lisa Dahlkvist's penalty kick following Christen Press's miss with shootout tied 3-3.

I've seen hundreds and hundreds of penalty kicks and witnessed goalkeepers try to ice shooters -- Solo did it to German Celia Sasic in the turning point of the USA's semifinal victory at the 2015 Women's World Cup -- but I've never seen any keeper pull the stunt Solo did, in Round of 5 a shootout no less. As Dahlkvist stepped up for the final kick, Solo decided she needed new gloves and walked away to change them.

It wasn't hard for neutrals to cheer when Dahlkvist fired her penalty kick into the net for the winning goal.

As Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post asked, "Who is the real coward here?"

53 comments about "Indeed, who was the coward?".
  1. Richard Brown, August 13, 2016 at 7:53 a.m.

    I hate when reporters who never played the game at all or never played at a high level think they can comment on those who can.

    Who cares what they think.

  2. Brian Quesinberry replied, August 13, 2016 at 9:17 a.m.

    I have had this debate several times. I have seen this tactic used and have had it used against me. The tactic is called cheating. The tactic only works when the referee is not brave enough to pull the cards out for fear of calls from the media that the referee ruined the game by enforcing the rules. It is true the ref called the fouls and gave the free kicks that the US did not execute.

  3. Margaret Manning, August 13, 2016 at 7:59 a.m.

    Solo was constantly harassed by the Brazilians who took her valid concern about ZIKA as a personal affront, which is enormously stupid. The game is over. We're moving on.

  4. Dan Eckert, August 13, 2016 at 8:08 a.m.

    Give the reporter a break. She probably watched the whole thing on her couch from her parent's basement and has no clue. I've NEVER played at that level - but I have played as GK for 30 years and loosing a big game like this is heartbreaking - and for the first day or two afterwards - you are just not rational. To be a GK - you have to be a bit of a head case. I'm not making an excuse for Solo - but I understand what happened and give her the benefit of the doubt.

    I would argue the coaching in this game was what won. Pia just did a better job and was smarter than Jill. That's a close game.

  5. David Trapp, August 13, 2016 at 8:22 a.m.

    I happen to agree with most of the above comments; Hope is a keeper and just got beat in a shootout, I understand completely her reaction, and I forgive her for acting out that way. USA lost because they did not finish their chances in a game they should have dominated. Solo took it personally, as a good keeper almost always does.

  6. Wolfgang Wostl, August 13, 2016 at 8:24 a.m.

    Forget about Solo's actions. The game was lost because the Swedish coach outsmarted our coach. The Swedes played defense with 4-5 defenders on the back line. Our coach did not know how to counter that defense. We played back and forth in the midfield that got us nowhere. Our strategy should have been when they attack and we get the ball back generate a quick counter attack before their 4-5 players backline is reestablished.
    It is difficult to penetrate a defense that has 9 out of the 10 field players
    in front of their goal.

  7. Gary Levitt, August 13, 2016 at 8:37 a.m.

    Everyone has their time as a professional. Solo's time is up. It is very clear that she has issues that only can be solved off the field. Her actions and behavior don't match up with the ethos of the USWNT, their staff, the supporters and their sponsors. She could have been celebrated as one of the top goalkeepers in the world. She never will be and she showed in this tournament that her judgment and quality has diminished. Taking things personally after a loss is normal, but lashing out at an opponent to the media is foolish, childish, and embarrassing.
    Goodbye Solo and for you and your family please go get some professional help. As for the result, kudos to Sweden and their tactics. Tough, ball-winning, and able to absorb pressure. Smart tactics against our ladies.

  8. beautiful game, August 13, 2016 at 8:39 a.m.

    O Solo mio...tears are acceptable, but a sore loser comment not.

  9. Margaret Manning replied, August 13, 2016 at 5:24 p.m.

    Tears are acceptable? Really? Would you expect Tim Howard to cry?

  10. ROBERT BOND replied, August 15, 2016 at 11:49 a.m.

    one of the ROK men cried his eyes effort by the Colombians to shake hands....USWNT would get better refs if they used the best refs...

  11. Jim Hougan, August 13, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

    Criticism of Solo is ridiculous. She won the match against France, and made a mistake against Colombia. No one on this board has been under the kind of pressure she was under, standing in the goal in the shoot-out with Sweden. In my view, the U.S. lost the match when the coach failed to start Rapinoe, who is the obvious catalyst for everything that happens in the American attack.

  12. Bob Ashpole, August 13, 2016 at 10:01 a.m.

    I read this article before I read what Solo said. What Solo said shouldn't even be newsworthy. Do people really believe that athletes are saying off-the-record the "political correct" speeches they make on the record? Probably not. They are just complaining that Solo did not utter the PC banalities, which was something Solo is not likely to do anytime, much less after a heartbreaking shootout loss. This is why the press interview people under stress, so they can report "news" about what someone said instead of reporting the events.

  13. Adrian Gonzalez replied, August 13, 2016 at 9:47 p.m.

    Some say that soccer is the most emotional game of all. Whether that is true or not does not really matter. Every sport has its moments. Hope's comments were emotional. She is probably not the best person to approach at that time after this result. She spoke honestly and directly and is being crucified for it. That is who she is and everyone knows it, leave her alone ! Do your job and report on the game and why the US lost.

  14. Jorge Devotto, August 13, 2016 at 11:27 a.m.

    Leave players alone now, it was just the heat of the lost. Making a fuzz where there is none. Solo is a great goalkeeper it is extremely difficult to defend the goal while the entire stadium booes you. Try that before you comment...Sweden tactics were coward compare to USA tactics. Thats a fact, just watch the game again, bunkered in, waiting for a mistake instead of leading to win.

    You should comment that Sweden did not show anything worth of gold medal...and that the USA should be proud of how they play, always forward to try to score the win.

    Sweden wont win gold medal because cowards never do.

  15. Ric Fonseca replied, August 13, 2016 at 12:17 p.m.

    Jorge: Have you ever coached? In a comment I wrote and that appeared in Ridge Mahoney's rating, I said that the only coach who knew the team was Coach Pia, for crying out loud, didn't she coach them for some time? A coach has got to do what he/she has to do, plan a good game strategy, and if it means play a defensive game, so be as it is the opponent's responsibility to try a different strategy. simply put, the more veteran coach Pia, out coached the not so veteran coach Jill. As for Miss Hope, in dangerous of sounding trite, I always said there is hope at the end of the tunnel, but now Hope IS at the end of the tunnel, and so it is adios, goodbye, ciao,aurevoir, and let's bring a new GK!

  16. Lou vulovich, August 13, 2016 at 12:08 p.m.

    Overrated, lacking in maturity and class. She has always drawn way too much attention to herself. The US team would have every medal and every championship it currently has, if no one had ever heard her name. No disgrace in loosing that game.

  17. Scott Johnson replied, August 13, 2016 at 1:10 p.m.

    With whom in goal? Solo may be a lot of things, and what she had to say was indeed low-class, but a bad keeper she is not, and I'm curious who you think the US has on the bench who is better in net. At any rate, this is soccer. The men's game is full of unsavory characters who make Solo look like Mother Teresa, yet nobody complains when they do something stupid.

  18. Margaret Manning replied, August 13, 2016 at 5:26 p.m.

    "Class"--another highly charged term.

  19. David Huff, August 13, 2016 at 12:16 p.m.

    Her lack of discipline is really growing tiresome, I'm sure this entitled drama queen went off and had a drunken bender afterwards, punching a wall to make herself feel better later. It's time for her to go.

  20. Ric Fonseca replied, August 13, 2016 at 12:18 p.m.

    I agree, but what happened several years ago, that was then and this is now. Time for a 'keeper change!!!

  21. David Huff, August 13, 2016 at 12:23 p.m.

    The coach needs replacement too, there's no good reason that Pia Sundhage should have prevailed even with her use of insider knowledge, it should have been anticipated. This USWNT now has the dubious distinction of being the only team that never medalled in an Olympics since women's soccer was added to the Olympic format in 1996. There are consequences for such failure in any sports domain, let the changes come because they can't come soon enough.

  22. Allan Lindh, August 13, 2016 at 12:47 p.m.

    Hope has always been a loose cannon, she'll get over it. She's still the best woman keeper the world has ever seen. But maybe not three years from now. It's not like she's running for President of the United States.

  23. Adrian Gonzalez replied, August 13, 2016 at 10 p.m.

    Teams everywhere have to deal with players that carry baggage, much worse that Hopes. They usually remain on those teams due to the talent they bring to those sports and their teams. Hope has been there because no one else has been close to her in the goal and are still not. You take the whole package and we have for years, much more upside than down. Leave Hope alone !

  24. Nalin Carney, August 13, 2016 at 1:06 p.m.

    Hope Solo....You are the best goalkeeper ever....No matter what you said!

  25. Karl Schreiber, August 13, 2016 at 2:20 p.m.

    Oh no! Nothing to write about Klinsmann?? So Paul Kennedy himself picks another target, Hope Solo, one of the best goalkeepers on the planet. What a kindergarten! After a game like that, players make comments without weighing every word carefully. I would not have used “cowards” because the Swedish players were hard-tackling machines with a lot of borderline rough play and persistently pushing opposing players in the back. “Hackers”? Solo is correct with her assessment of the Swedish game. A seemingly primitive concept of catenaccio with occasional bursts of kick-and-rush. Sundhage, whom I did not like as coach of our team, nevertheless had enough smartness to realize that was the only way to hope beating the technically superior U.S. Team. Our field players unfortunately missed numerous scoring opportunities. It came down to penalty kicks. Our million-dollar-girl, Alex Morgan, failed to score – a demoralizing failure that must have impacted the rest of the team. It must have impacted Press whose shot went way above the goal. In the end we lost because of the failure of our field players, in the PKs and before in regular play. That is what should be discussed, along with Ellis’ highly questionable decision to insert a not-completely-fit Rapino for a short time. Hope Solo, who as a goalkeeper has a slimmer chance of preventing goals, did save a shot. She already has toned down her choice of words in more recent comments. Leave her alone! - Our team so far is the only team in BRA that played the joga bonita, if only in stretches.

  26. Adrian Gonzalez replied, August 13, 2016 at 10:07 p.m.

    Thank you, a great response. Focus on the game and not anyone's emotional comments. USWNT still one of the best around for so long, they will come back with a vengeance and probably with Hope in goal !

  27. Ankl Brkr, August 13, 2016 at 4:52 p.m.

    Let's be honest... she should not be making excuses about Sweden being cowards. As a player and fan, it's easier to blame the officiating, the field surface, the other team's tactics, etc. Those are things you cannot control. In her defense (although I'm not a fan), I'd probably have some choice words about Sweden as well after losing to a team that just sits back and hopes to score off the counter. In reality, though, you can only control what you can control - i.e. how do you break down their low block, create scoring chances, and finish those chances?

    The issue is not Sweden parking the bus, the issue is our consistently poor tactics playing against teams that play a low block. With the exception of Canada, France, Germany, and Japan, every other US opponent will more than likely sit back and try to score on the counter and/or look to score on set pieces a la Colombia. Why, then, does it always appear as if we have no idea how to create chances against this system? From my observations post '99ers and DiCicco era, there have been little to no creative ideas in the final third from our players. I'd include our USMNT post '02 WC as well, but that's another discussion altogether.

    If you know you are going to play against opponents that mostly park the bus, that's what your training sessions and preparation should be focused on ahead of those matches. We do not have creative players such as Marta or Lady, but we do have the players that can create chances and break down a low block if properly prepared and given the opportunity. Look what happened when Crystal Dunn came on in the second half of the match. She totally changed the dynamics of the match. However, we still tried to play long balls over the top or up the middle to Alex Morgan that went to Sweden time and time again. The backs never overlapped (personnel and system issue), players up top were stagnant, penetrating passes were not crisp or accurate, there were no diagonal balls played over the top to the weak side, and there was no flare or creativity in the final third with 1 v 1 opportunities or third player runs. There are so many ways to break down a low block. If you are not properly prepared, then the low block will work to a 'T'. However, if you have the correct system in place with proper players on the field that know how to create chances, the low block is worthless and will only delay the inevitable.

    Forget Solo's comments and character issues... it's a given she's a controversial and polarizing figure. In my mind, the bigger issue is our style of play and lack of individual/team creativity at the National Team and youth levels, but that's another discussion in itself. Until major and drastic changes are made within the USSF (let's be honest, the new USSF mandates are not going to change things), we will continue to spin our wheels as a soccer nation even if we just won the WC.

  28. Footballer Forever replied, August 13, 2016 at 6:34 p.m.

    Blah! Blah! Blah!

    Just glad Premier League started and MLS is past half season.

  29. Adrian Gonzalez replied, August 13, 2016 at 10:14 p.m.

    Ankl Brkr, should have used your post as the story of the game instead of this nonsense yet again. Great analysis. I did not see the game, only heard comments. This says plenty, nice job !

  30. Mike Calcaterra, August 13, 2016 at 5 p.m.

    Statistically, Solo is the best keeper in the world. No one is even close to her accomplishments on the field. Off the field, any worthwhile goalkeeper is a bit nuts. Deal with it. Not really an issue. If you need an issue, how about Brazil never hosting a major sports event again. What a classless lot they have proven to be.

  31. beautiful game replied, August 13, 2016 at 7:21 p.m.

    A keeper is as good as the defense in front; and Solo has had the best defense.

  32. Georges Carraha, August 13, 2016 at 5:06 p.m.

    Playing the game does not mean you understand the game and can coach it! With that said, losing is not a reason for bad behavior and winning is not a reason for bad behavior! The tactics you use are based on the attributes of your players. For example, if a boxer is fighting a powerful and strong puncher, you will not attack openly in fear of being knocked out. Sweden used selective defensive tactics to allow the players to defend and exploit weaknesses with quick counterattacking. That's why you have various systems of play and styles! I have never heard people call the Italian national team COWARDS! They won the world cup with just defending and no one complained about it!
    Please, learn and study the game and you will understand that tactics are an important part of playing the game! Brazil almost lost last night against Australia and the same thing happened. Australia frustrated the Brazilians and almost won the game. Stop complaining and rewarding bad behavior! Pia showed why she is a GREAT COACH!

  33. beautiful game, August 13, 2016 at 7:19 p.m.

    USWNT lost the match because they failed to execute.

  34. beautiful game, August 13, 2016 at 7:23 p.m.

    Margaret M., I would expect anyone to shed tears over a big game; that's very acceptable.

  35. aaron dutch, August 13, 2016 at 9:07 p.m.

    Hope had a melt down but lets be real I dont see anyone in the world over 5-10 matches that I would replace her with at this point. I think she needs to go to the Swedish team an give them a personal meeting & Pia. Then fly to Sweden take a break, vacation and show she is human. Give them the respect, fall on the sword and all is good. I think she knows she screwed up.

  36. Scott Johnson, August 13, 2016 at 10:05 p.m.

    In the context of youth soccer, I hear lots of complaints about "bootball", "thugball", and "bunkerball", etc.--usually from teams/clubs (or parents therewith) who play pedagogically correct soccer (playing out of the back, trying to maintain possession, preferring to rely on skill over physical attributes), and lose to teams that foul a lot, park the bus from the opening whistle, and play longballs over the top to nobody in particular, hoping that fast forwards can get numbers behind the defense and score cheap goals. In youth soccer--where the point is teaching the game--such complaints may have merit. But in pro or international soccer, winning is the whole point--and if your team cannot prevail over a lower-skilled team that parks the bus and only tries to score on the counter, then perhaps your team isn't as good as you think. Brazil picked Sweden apart. There are ways to beat a team that puts nine in the box (if the box is that crowded, the keeper's view of the field gets very limited), but the US wasn't able to capitalize.

  37. Kent James replied, August 15, 2016 at 9:16 p.m.

    Excellent comment.

  38. stewart hayes, August 14, 2016 at 10:05 a.m.

    If it is not cowardly to park the bus it it's not cowardly to use gamesmanship during the penalty shootout.

    Hope made one great penalty save. All the we can say at this point is we hope the Swedish team makes a quick exit. Just as we hope the same for Honduran team that beat a superior Korean team on a counter against the run of play.

  39. Jim Ngo, August 14, 2016 at 3:37 p.m.

    I remember once being in the locker room after losing a state championship game in overtime and my players could hear the celebration from the other lockers. More than a few players were ready to go to the other room and knock some heads. Lots of nasty things were said. It was an emotional loss and I can guarantee that much worse things were probably said about Sweden by American players in the locker room.

    If it was my goalkeeper who just allowed the game winning PK in the 5th round of a shootout in a knockout round, as a coach I would not be selecting her to do post-game media interviews. I think Jill Ellis failed in her responsibility as coach here.

  40. James Griffin, August 14, 2016 at 7:20 p.m.

    Ankl Brkr, well-said. Solo’s comments were regrettable and needed an immediate response from a more sensible team spokesman. It’s true, we can count on the press to look for the “headlines” and forget the real story. We lost to Sweden and for me -- a coach and player with considerable experience -- I say it was poor coaching. Too bad Pia couldn’t have exhibited that sort of tactical understanding when she coached the WNT. If you watched the game, then you should have noticed that we scored only after launching a long-range attack against the Swedish defense that created the goal. Carli Lloyd could score from midfield against Japan but could not manage a shot attempt against Sweden longer than 20 yards. Any decent coach knows you attack a packed defense by using the flanks, taking half chances, launching balls into the packed area to allow the defense to make mistakes, AND attack the opposing Goalkeeper at every opportunity. Our women made the Sweden team look good. According to the scoreline, Sweden’s keeper has to be at least the second best in the world. The WNT coach has “drunk the Kool-Aid” of possession as the key tactic, looking for “clever little passes in the area” for scoring chances, and lapsing into predictable play which looks good, and sometimes wins games. On paper, and matching player for player, the US team is clearly superior. The only statistic that the women lost in was the one that counted. Great tactical game by Sweden; poor coaching USA. I wonder how much time the WNT actually dedicated to deadball situations in practice? In looking at their games, my guess would be not much. Practice makes permanent. Close games are often won through a deadball situation (ask Colombia). Failure to adjust tactics in a game often results in…..failure.

  41. Scott Johnson replied, August 15, 2016 at 12:55 p.m.

    Hear, hear! If the other team is going to allow any cross into the box that you might want to make, or even let you launch shots from 30 yards out unmarked--when the ref awards a DFK from that distance, fans cheer--why the fudge would the team try to play tiki-taka through a crowded penalty area? As noted above, this isn't youth soccer; there's no need to force the ladies to "play the right way" as a teaching exercise. In the pros and international competition, the "right way" is whatever wins the match. And if the other team is basically going to condede you possession, including directing goal kicks to your defense/midfield because there's nobody downfield to receive them, take advantage! Launch missiles on frame. The worst that is likely to happen is another GK, and you'll have to try again. But low percentage shots become high percentage shots if you are allowed to make them all match long...

  42. Rex Russo, August 15, 2016 at 10:48 a.m.

    I also generally agree with Ankl Brkr. But, I would not say it was necessarily bad coaching when you out shoot the opponent 26 to 3. True, there were plenty of times a hard quick shot should have been taken through the lanes at the back 4 (or 5 at times) looking for the mistake. Isn't that how Alex Morgan scored? Were there not other attempts? More effort at finishing maybe, as far as any coaching concerns. Unfortunately, it is the way it is in all sports. The best team doesn't always win. If we were Swedes we'd be thrilled that a win came about, with less thought about how it came about.

  43. Ankl Brkr replied, August 15, 2016 at 2:13 p.m.

    Rex, thanks for the comments. You're right, the best team does not always win, but I have to disagree with your comment that it did not necessarily have to do with the US women's coaching staff. It definitely falls on them for their poor preparation for a low block as well as their system, line up, and substitute gaffes. Yes, we may have outshot them 26-3, but only 5 were on target. I'd be interested to know how many of those 5 shots were off set pieces and corners rather than during the run of play. With regards to Alex Morgan's goal... it was off a Crystal Dunn header from a long ball up the middle that hit the Swedish player (Samuelsson - 15) in the face and luckily dropped right to AM inside of the PK spot. It was a great finish created by a very unlucky Sweden mistake. Let's look at some of the more telling stats - we had 65% of the possession with 81% passing accuracy. However, in the attacking half, that accuracy was only 69% with 66% in the attacking 1/3 and only 16% on crosses - i.e. under pressure we struggled to break them down. In comparison to the men's #1 team in the world against a low block, Argentina had 67% of the possession v. the US men in the Copa America with 86% passing accuracy, 76% in attacking half, and 70% in the final 1/3 versus the US in the Copa America. They were much more creative in the final 1/3, and we all saw how inept the USMNT were against a superior team. Getting back to the USWNT, our formation and line up were totally wrong for the match. Why not stick with the 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 that worked in the knockout stages of the 2015 WC? It was a joy to watch! The group stage, though, was a complete disaster! I'm not sure if someone on the team or coaching staff convinced JE to change her game plan for the knockout stages, but it was a completely different team for the rest of the WC. In 2010, JE did not change her long ball tactics with the u20s, and they lost to Nigeria in PKs in the 1/4s. KO/AK and MK can overlap out of the back to provide width and attacking options while keeping JJ and BS in the center of the pitch tucked in to prevent the counter up the middle. Put CD and AM on the flanks to utilize their speed and creativity. Have MB and LH as the 6 and 8, TH as the 10, and CL as the 9. Having inexperienced players such as AL and MP start and play a ton in that match does not make sense to me. Having MR come on so early (even started the Colombia match) did not make sense either. She was nowhere near ready to put in significant minutes. As for CP, she is hot and cold, but she can play multiple positions, so coming off the bench was correct even if she did not contribute much to the attack. Lauren Holiday was definitely missed, but the US had options within the roster to advance and win another Gold medal. Going forward though, we need a staff that is willing to cultivate a consistent, enjoyable, and progressive style of play that uses our gifts and creative players (i.e. - Rose LaVelle) on the pitch.

  44. ROBERT BOND, August 15, 2016 at 11:50 a.m.

    team is in happens..

  45. Vince Leone, August 15, 2016 at 1 p.m.

    Solo chose a poor word, but she is within her rights to criticize the play of an opponent. I wish she had said "Sweden should have been more willing to attack" or the like. Also, I suspect her comment is getting more attention because she is a woman.

  46. Mark Landefeld, August 15, 2016 at 4:45 p.m.

    No "Victory Tour" redux ... no "testimonial" match, please ... let's just get on with the next GK to get the #1 shirt ...

    I want to be able to forget throwing teammates and coaches under the bus ... I want to be able to forget reports from Washington State prosecutors, ... and I want to be able to forget that shootout moment when somehow the confidence of a save against Sembrandt gave way to the EMBARASSING gamesmanship against Dahlkvist, who looked at the stunt and smiled because she knew she now had the moment.

  47. Kent James, August 15, 2016 at 9:28 p.m.

    I've always had some issues with Hope Solo's attitude (a little too 'cocky, bad ass' for my taste), but respect her talent. Everybody has a bad game now and again (v. Colombia), and while her choice of the word "coward" for the Swedes was unfair (not challenging a stronger opponent's strength is smart, not cowardly), I do understand her frustration, and agree with her belief that the stronger team did not win, so I don't think her comments were totally out of line (just poorly worded). I'm not a fan of the glove change (pure gamesmanship). For me, the key is how do her teammates feel about her? Does she inspire those around her to play better, or does her negative attitude hurt their play? I've coached teams where very talented players diminish the play of those around them, rather than enhancing it. If she is that sort of player, then she should be dropped. If not, then let this controversy blow over, and evaluate the situation going forward.

  48. Kevin Sims, August 15, 2016 at 11:13 p.m.

    Hope, living out the expectations of her last name, has never been accused of being classy, gracious, team-first or grateful.

  49. aaron dutch, August 16, 2016 at 4:32 p.m.

    Pia and the Swedish Cowards keep rolling! 240+min of winning Coward football:) I guess they are not weak team everyone said. I have to say this has been a great football tourney. Canada beating France is even bigger upset if we are honest.

  50. Ankl Brkr, August 16, 2016 at 7 p.m.

    Today was yet another example as to why matches should not be resolved by PKs. Golden goal should occur in OT with each team removing one player from the field every 5-10 minutes until someone scores. Enough is enough. Too many inferior teams are being rewarded for parking the bus on both the men's and women's sides. The match should be decided on the field during the run of play.

  51. Bob Ashpole, August 17, 2016 at 3:16 a.m.

    The classic derogatory term is "anti-football" rather than cowardly.

  52. Richard Brown, August 17, 2016 at 5:25 a.m.

    I won't mention the name of the coach because he is a men's coach but when his team was playing well and they got a lead against a team that could play what does he have his team do?

    Do they play the same way and try to build on the lead they had? No he just keep doing clearances to try and hold the lead they had that could go in for the last forty minutes.

    Terrible football but sometimes you can win games playing terrible football once you get a lead.

  53. Allan Lindh, August 17, 2016 at 11:01 p.m.

    And before you smart people wave Hope goodbye, does anyone want to bet a case of good whiskey that no one will beat her out for the job, and unless she wants to hand them up and have kids, she might be in goal in Russia in three years. A lot of goal-keepers are psycho, but she is almost certainly the best woman goal-keeper that ever laced up a pair of boots. Although in her prime, Briana Scurry might make a case.

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