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With the U.S. women’s national team one Swedish penalty kick away from elimination in its Olympic soccer quarterfinal on Friday, Hope Solo took a page out of the playbook of American football coaches around the country…
She tried to ice the kicker.
With Sweden midfielder Lisa Dahlkvist striding towards the penalty spot, knowing one conversion would be enough to eliminate the favored Americans, Solo decided she needed new goalkeeper gloves.
Dahlkvist converted the penalty despite Solo’s antics, with Solo cheating in the wrong direction, and the U.S. was eliminated. Solo wasn’t happy:
Here’s the full quote, in which Solo doubles down on calling Sweden “cowardly” and says she thinks the better team didn’t win:
Solo has been cast as a villain of sorts in women’s soccer for a while, but dislike for her heightened over the past few weeks. Brazilian fans booed her and and yelled “Zika!” as she took goal kicks in response to photos Solo posted on Instagram before the Olympics began. Those same fans likely aren’t happy with this quote.
It’s not the first controversial Solo quote by any means. The most notable one probably came in 2007. Solo was benched for legendary but aging keeper Brianna Scurry in a World Cup semifinal, and after the U.S. lost, Solo said, “It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that,” she said. “There’s no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. And the fact of the matter is it’s not 2004 anymore. … It’s 2007, and I think you have to live in the present. And you can’t live by big names. You can’t live in the past.”
Fans were already unhappy with Solo before the quote. They were, to put it nicely, skeptical of the glove change. Not much could have happened between Sweden’s fourth penalty kick and fifth penalty kick that would have made Solo’s gloves dysfunctional. More than likely, it was gamesmanship.
Solo is by no means the first soccer goalkeeper to stall in a penalty shootout to try to put off an opponent. Many keepers will walk around in front of or behind the goal, delaying as long as possible to get in the penalty taker’s head. But the glove change is a new ploy.
Twitter had some suggestions for Solo that might help next time she’s facing a decisive penalty and decides she needs new gloves: