US Women’s National Team stopper Hope Solo has been given a six-month ban by US Soccer for calling Sweden ‘a bunch of cowards’ following the Americans quarter-final exit at the Rio Olympics.
Solo, capped 202 times by the Stars and Stripes, made the remarks upon suffering penalty shootout heartbreak at the Mane Garrincha Stadium, as the US sought a fourth-consecutive gold medal only to be undone by a solid Sweden defence.
After the match, the 35-old-year voiced her frustrations, saying: “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 pressed by the media about Sweden’s defence-minded tactics, Solo added: “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.”
Sweden went on to progress to the final but had to settle for silver, as goals from Dzsenifer Marozsan and an own-goal from Linda Sembrant saw Germany stand atop a lengthy podium.
US Soccer President Sunil Gulati explained that the Seattle Reign star’s comments were ‘unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our national team players’.
“Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect,” Gulati said. “We expect all of our representatives to honour those principles, with no exceptions.”
In addition US Soccer have terminated Hope Solo’s contract with immediate effect, to leave the World Cup winner’s legendary career marred in controversy.
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) August 25, 2016