Hope Solo: We Did Not Choke Against Japan in Finals

The U.S. women’s national team has been criticized for blowing 1-0 and 2-1 leads against Japan in the finals of the World Cup before losing on penalty kicks. The theme from most of the media has been that the team choked. What’s worse is that some people feel as if criticizing the team for choking is the ultimate sign of equality because it’s how the men would be treated. I find that to be nonsense, but that’s mainly because I feel like people are too quick to criticize the team that failed rather than praise the team that was victorious. Goalie Hope Solo also disagrees with that sentiment.

Appearing on SportsCenter, Solo responded to the critics. “I’ve been asked ‘Did you guys choke?’ so I think we’re getting criticized,” Solo acknowledged. “I don’t believe we choked. For so long people had been saying that our team has the best defense, we’re more athletically gifted, and we like to get the ball forward and find Abby’s head and that’s how we win.”

“Well in the final, we finally gave the world what they wanted,” Solo continued. “We were a possession-oriented team that attacked in different varieties, and unfortunately we didn’t come out on top. But it truly was our best game in the final of the World Cup in front of 60,000 people. So did we choke? I don’t think we choked, but everybody else who doesn’t truly know the game likes to say we did because of the penalty kicks.”

It’s great to hear Solo say that because the reality is there are very few soccer fans in the country, yet everyone professed to be an expert who understood the game during the World Cup finals. Regardless, we know one thing for certain: the U.S. women gained millions of fans during the tournament. Solo says she won’t get too carried away with her newfound celebrity status.

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Hope Solo, Abby Wambach Happy for Japan

This U.S. women’s soccer team blew 1-0 and 2-1 leads to Japan and lost in the finals of the World Cup on penalty kicks. They’re taking a lot of criticism for choking, but that’s not my focus. Sure it would have been nice to win, but this team will have a chance to earn a gold medal in London in 2012. Additionally, given the natural disasters in Japan, hopefully the World Cup win will be more uplifting for their country than it would have been for the U.S.

Many of the players on the American team share the same perspective.

Goalie Hope Solo, who said she hoped Japan would reach the finals, placed the loss in excellent context.

“We lost to a great team, we really did,” Solo conceded. “Japan is a team that I’ve always had so much respect for, and I truly believe that something bigger was pulling for this team. And as much as I’ve always wanted [to win the World Cup], if there’s any team I would give it to, it would be Japan.”

Abby Wambach, who scored to put the U.S. up 2-1, suggested a more powerful force was at work.

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Venture Capitalist Stefan Pfister Proposed to Hope Solo with Poster at Semifinal

Hope SoloThe U.S. women’s soccer team is in the finals of the World Cup and set to play Japan Sunday. The team has gained enormous popularity since its comeback win over Brazil in the quarterfinals, and the hype has continued.

Goalkeeper Hope Solo is one of the most recognizable players on the team. Not only is she possibly the best keeper in the world, but she’s also quite outspoken. She frequently appears in interviews and she’s become the face of the team. Needless to say, she’s also captured plenty of male attention.

One fan who is particularly smitten is Stefan Pfister, a venture capitalist from Dusseldorf, Germany. Pfister has fallen in love with Solo and attended the semifinal game Wednesday to show his love for her.

“Hope Solo is a beautiful woman and a wonderful athlete,” Pfister said in an interview this week. “She shows that you can be feminine and athletic and the best in your chosen sport. I saw during the last game that a fan had written a banner which proposed marriage so I am going to do the same, except that mine will be bigger and better.

“I am not necessarily expecting a positive response but it is a genuine offer,” added Pfister, who claims to have homes in five different countries. “I just want to show my appreciation for her class as a person and ability as a footballer.”

Well the game was played Wednesday, and true to his word Pfister was in attendance with a poster proposing to Solo. Check it out:

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Is Hope Solo’s Hamstring Injury an Issue?

Hope Solo

Hope Solo is one of the star players on the U.S. team. As their goal keeper, she had clean sheets against North Korea and Colombia, gave up two goals in a loss to Sweden, and then two goals (one shouldn’t have happened) against Brazil. Solo has been spectacular in the net, stopping a penalty kick in the shootout against Brazil to help the U.S. advance to the semifinals of the World Cup. She even managed to hold France down in the semis giving up one goal, and that was with a minor injury.

Right before the match started against France, it was reported that Solo had tweaked her hamstring in warmups. It was reported as a minor injury, but it still can be a problem. You always want to be at full-strength especially for knockout games. Not being at your best can be the difference between advancing and going home, so this could be critical in the finals regardless of the opponent. The good news is the squad will have three days off before the finals.

UPDATE: Solo also had the quote of the year after the match. Asked where the team gets its confidence from, she said “confidence comes from our preparation and because we know we’re damn good.”

With an attitude like that, any surprise the team has been this successful?

Hope Solo Stops Penalty Kick, Marta Scores on Second Chance (Video)

The U.S. women’s soccer team put together a comeback for the ages, scoring with a minute left to tie their quarterfinal game against Brazil in the World Cup. Even though the last-minute goal and subsequent shootout win gave the U.S. one of its most dramatic victories ever, it should have never come down to that.

Marta was awarded a penalty kick and Cristiane took the first attempt that was stopped by goal keeper Hope Solo. However, the referee ruled that there was movement prior to the kick so Brazil was given a second shot (attempted by Marta). Here is video of the controversial play:

There may have been movement prior to Marta’s kick, but it was minimal and something that isn’t ordinarily called. It looked like that goal was going to be the difference-maker in the contest until Abby Wambach scored in the final minute, sending the game to penalty kicks.

Call it Karma if you choose. I’ll just say Ball Don’t Lie.

Hope Solo Finally Gets Her World Cup Chance Against Brazil

Hope Solo

U.S. goal keeper Hope Solo will get a chance to do what she should have had the opportunity to do in 2007: beat Brazil in the World Cup. You might recall that Solo was controversially benched for the 2007 World Cup semifinal match against Brazil in favor of veteran Brianny Scurry. The U.S. lost 4-0 and Solo criticized coach Greg Ryan for the move.

Solo ended up apologizing on her Myspace page for lashing out, but she had a right to be upset. Now, four years later, Solo will lead the U.S. in goal for their quarterfinal match against the Brazilians. The winner moves on to the semis while the loser goes home, so there is no margin for error.

Something tells me Solo will remind Ryan he screwed up by posting a shutout.

More Hope Solo pictures (she was named to our all hottest Olympians list)

All-Hottest Olympians at Beijing Team

By popular demand, we have the All-Hottest Olympians Team. Usually they have the all-tournament teams and stuff, but athletic prowess is not exactly what concerns us in this instance. After all, what else are the Summer Games good for? Anyway, Jimmy Traina at SI Extra Mustard gave us plenty of excellent choices and provided some inspiration for this carefully selected group. Same with Brahsome who put together a hottest 11 Olympians list, and FanIQ’s Olympians that posed in Playboy.

LERYN FRANCO – Javelin, Paraguay, With Leather favorite

ANA IVANOVIC – Tennis, Serbia, LBS favorite

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