The Swedish women’s team — “a bunch of cowards,” in the memorable phrase of Hope Solo — pulled off their second straight upset on Tuesday (Aug. 16), defeating Brazil on penalty kicks before a stunned crowd at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro..
The gutless win came two days after Sweden sent the top-ranked U.S. women’s team packing.
The spineless Swedes play Germany for the Olympic gold medal on Friday.
Ten days ago, in group play, Brazil clobbered Sweden 5-1. Pia Sundhage, the weak-kneed Swedish coach, made sure that didn’t happen again on Tuesday.
Just as she had against the United States, she neutralized a more skillful and dynamic opponent by packing her trembling players into the defensive half of the field, making it all but impossible for the Brazilian strikers to find a clear trajectory to the goal.
How unsportsmanlike — refusing to let Brazil play to its strength!
After 90 minutes of regulation time and 30 minutes of extra time, the game remained scoreless. The yellow-bellied Swedes won on penalty kicks, just as they had against Solo and her brave comrades.
After Team USA’s loss, the U.S. goalkeeper was indignant over the Swedes’ cowardice. She ripped into them for not having the balls to play the way she thought she should have.
“Sweden dropped off. … They didn’t want to pass the ball,” she said.
“They didn’t want to play great soccer. … They didn’t try and press. They didn’t want to open the game. …It was very cowardly.”
Then, showing that she’s as good at predictions as she is at losing gracefully, Solo added: “I don’t think they’re going to make it far in the tournament.”