Hope Solo really let her feelings out after the United States lost their Women’s Olympic soccer quarterfinal today against Sweden. The loss came on penalties with the two teams knotted at 1 goal apiece.
I don’t mind when athletes sometimes say less than sportsmanlike statements. Sometimes the emotions just come out and it adds a human element. But in these kinds of moments it shows who you really are because that’s when the filter shuts down and the truth comes out.
I’ll let Grant Wahl’s Twitter feed provide the quote:
What Solo basically says is Sweden controlled the situation. The game played out exactly the way Sweden wanted it to. They followed their game plan with precision and won.
Somehow that’s cowardly.
I know what she means. I get it. I was always trained to play attractive soccer. Lots of support. Attack from everywhere, even the back. Good ball movement. Lots of support. High skill, high pace. I was neither of those things mind you, but I was fortunate to play with guys who were and I learned how to fit in and support them.
As a result there were teams I played against who’s counter strategy was to bring everyone back into the 18 yard box, clog up the passing lanes, frustrate us for 60-75 minutes and then try their luck on a long ball or two. It was rough. It was ugly. It was infuriating. It was effective.
But to call it “cowardly” is ridiculous. And to say “they won’t go far in the tournament” when they just made the semi-finals and you’re packing your luggage is only be going to looked at as sour grapes whether you’re right or not.
This isn’t a good strategy to use all the time, but to use it against arguably the best team in the world is what I would call smart. There are some teams you don’t try to outskill.
Some teams you try to beat, and some teams you try to let beat themselves.