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Hope Solo is spending the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup as a guest columnist for The Guardian and in a piece published Wednesday opined on the U.S. women’s national team’s celebrations during a 13-0 drubbing of Thailand in the opener.
In short: The two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion wasn’t a fan. But the former goalkeeper was on board with a special gesture by Carli Lloyd after the match.
Solo: USWNT celebrations ‘a little overboard’
The win for the U.S. made tournament history for most goals scored by a team and largest margin of victory. Solo had no problem with the final score — “When you respect your opponent you don’t all of a sudden sit back and try not to score,” she wrote — but did take exception to the celebrations given it.
“It was tough for me to watch some of the US goal celebrations – which have come under criticism – considering the scoreline. You do want the game to be celebrated and you do want to see players having fun but at the same time I thought some of the celebrations were a little overboard.”
The USWNT turned a 3-0 halftime score into a demolition and continued to celebrate for every goal. Canadian analysts said they were “disgusted” at the display and asserted the players had no decency nor respect.
Celebrations capture ‘rawness of moment’
One of the best and most iconic celebrations ever was an unplanned one in 1999 when Brandi Chastain famously ripped off her shirt after the title-winning penalty kick. Twenty years later it’s almost more common to see coordinated celebrations in professional sports.
Solo mentioned it in her piece on why she wasn’t a fan:
“A few seemed planned out and I do know some players spend a lot of time thinking about celebrations for the fans. It’s not always necessary. We haven’t won the World Cup yet. My favorite celebrations capture the rawness of the moment and are filled with spontaneous emotion. When that happens you actually see how much passion there is in the sport and how much pride the players have.”
The USWNT approached the tournament as business, meeting questions about their fight for equal pay with answers about focusing on repeating as world champions. In their first match out of the gate, according to some opinions, they went the opposite direction and celebrated goals like they were already title-winners.
Postgame moments showed true U.S. colors
After the final minute expired, U.S. players approached Thailand to console them. Alex Morgan, who scored a record-tying five goals, spoke with Miranda Nild and told her to keep her head up.
Lloyd was seen speaking with goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying, whom she walked off the field with and gave praise to in postgame comments. Solo said it was “one of the classiest things” she saw that day.
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