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The 2016 Rio Olympics have come to a close with Americans earning 121 medals -- 46 gold, 37 silver and 38 bronze -- their biggest haul ever, not counting the boycotted 1984 Los Angeles Games or the 1904 St. Louis Games, when hardly anyone else showed up.

Hope Solo: 'We played a bunch of cowards'

U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo is beaten on a shot during the shootout against Sweden. (Eraldo Peres / Associated Press)
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo is beaten on a shot during the shootout against Sweden. (Eraldo Peres / Associated Press)

Tough loss for the U.S. women's soccer team Friday in Rio. The U.S. were eliminated from the Olympics by Sweden on penalty kicks following an Olympic quarterfinal game that ended in a 1-1 draw. 

Apparently, it's not sitting well with goalie Hope Solo.

Here's more of what Solo had to say after the game concluded: 

"We played a creative game. We had many opportunities on goal. We showed a lot of heart. We came back from a goal down. I’m very proud of this team."

“We played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I strongly, firmly believe that.”

"Sweden dropped back. They didn't want to open play. They didn’t want to pass the ball around. They didn’t want to play great soccer, entertaining soccer. It was a combative game. A physical game. Exactly what they wanted. Exactly what their game plan was. We had that style of play when Pia was our coach. I think it was very cowardly. But they won, they’re moving on. And we’re going home,"

Meanwhile, Swedish coach and former U.S. national team coach Pia Sundhage had a stern reply to Solo. 

“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.

“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. And the fact that…it went to penalty kicks says something about our defending. U.S. played better in the attack, we played better in the defense. And at the end of the day we won the game and that’s what all counts.

“It’s OK to be a coward if you win.”

After the initial outburst, Solo tried to soften her earlier comments. 

"You’ve got to take your hat off to them because they beat us. So they’re going on, like I said, and we’re going home. They don’t have as quality of players as the American team does or as Brazil does, so they have to play a way that’s going to give them hope to beat a team like Brazil or the USA." 

"And I think that’s part of the tactical side of things. And Pia is somewhat of a tactician, so she dropped her team into a 50 and tried to hit long balls. They could only really score on the opportunity for a long ball or on set pieces. So I guess you can say it’s smart, but I don’t think it’s respectful to the game."

 

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