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1ST LEAD Hope hits out as United States suffer shock exit to Sweden By Derek Wilson, dpa

Von unserem dpa-Korrespondenten und Europe Online   auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Three-time reigning champions United States suffered a shock exit in the quarter-finals of the Olympics Friday by losing 4-3 on penalties to Sweden in Brasilia, prompting a bitter reaction from keeper Hope Solo.

Lisa Dahlkvist netted the winning penalty for the Swedes after Christian Press fired high over the bar with America‘s fifth kick.

"We lost to a bunch of cowards," Solo said of the Swedes for their defensive style of play.

But Swedish coach Pia Sundhage, who led the US to victory in London 2012, brushed off the criticism.

"It‘s okay to be a coward if you win," she replied.

The US have dominated women‘s football at the Games, winning four of five editions and the last three straight, but came undone in a sparsely attended Mane Garrincha Stadium.

A counter-attack was finished by Stina Blackstenius to give Sweden the lead shortly after the hour only for Alex Morgan to sweep home a loose ball with 13 minutes remaining.

Both sides had goals chalked off for marginal decisions deep into extra-time and the game went to a penalty shoot-out.

Morgan and Sweden‘s Linda Sembrandt both had kicks saved by Hedvig Lindahl and Hope Solo respectively before Press‘ error gave Dahlkvist the chance for glory.

"It is really hard to describe my feelings," Sundhage said. "I think in the 1991 Women‘s World Cup, since that year, the United States have never been out of the medals in any competition.

"But when I looked at my players before starting the extra-time and penalties and I was so confident ... I‘m so happy."



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