The United States women’s football team is very used to losing at the Olympics. The team last suffered a defeat to Norway in the Sydney games in year 2000. On Friday, they lost another memorable one as Sweden sent them crashing out of the tournament.
Sweden took the lead in the game played in the country’s capital Brasilia. Stina Blackstenius opened the scoring in the second half, just after the hour mark. Thirteen minutes out of regular time, Alex Morgan equalized for the United States. Both teams try to get the goal that would separate them but they couldn’t. After a short break, the 30 minutes extra time went underway, yet the sides could not be split.
The referee blew the whistle for penalties. Substitute Christen Press and Morgan lost their kicks, handing the ticket to the Swedes. The closest Sweden have gotten to an Olympic gold in the women’s event in a bronze medal in 2004. Lisa Dahlkvist was faced with the pressure of converting the wining spot kick; she held her nerve and did the required.
The American goalkeeper Hope Solo panicked as she faced with the fear of returning home. She made Dahlkvist wait as she insisted on changing her gloves. Dahlkvist still scored, stopping the US women national team out from reaching the final for the first time since the game was introduced in the 1996 Olympics.
After the game, Solo told reporters: “[I think] we played a bunch of cowards. You saw us give everything that we had today. Unfortunately, the better team didn’t win.” There had been many who had bet on Olympic games ending with a USA win in the football, who will be similarly disappointed.
She clearly attacked the defensive style of play the Swedes employed, stirring more controversies. Before the games, she posted pictures wearing a mosquito net, adding the hashtag “#zikaproof” back in July. The fans booed her during the game, and the Sweden’s coach Pia Sundhage condemned her comments. Sundhage led the Americans to victory in 2008 and 2012 before leaving.