Marta accepting of loss, rooting for Sweden for gold

The Equalizer Staff August 17, 2016 52
Marta is consoled after Brazil's semifinal loss to Sweden. (Photo: USA Today)

Marta is consoled after Brazil’s semifinal loss to Sweden. (Photo: USA Today)

Brazil will be playing on Friday, but not for the medal the team hoped for. Instead, Marta & Co. will take on Canada in the bronze-medal match after the Rio 2016 Olympic host fell to Sweden on penalty kicks in the semifinals.

Sweden employed the same bunker against Brazil as it did against the U.S., and it worked yet again. Sweden and Brazil played a scoreless 120 minutes in the semifinal before the Swedes prevailed on PKs. That spelled heartbreak for Brazil, but there was mutual respect after the match.

“They praised our team and said they were sorry for taking Brazil out of the final. They wanted to see us playing in the final here in Brazil. But this is football. Someone has to lose,” Marta said. “They fought until the end, just like we did, and came out on top in the penalties.”

The reaction comes in stark contrast to that of U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo. Solo called Sweden “a bunch of cowards” after the U.S. bowed out in the quarterfinals of a major tournament for the first time ever.

[LAULETTA: Five reasons the USWNT exited the Olympics early]

Sweden coach Pia Sundhage had said she “doesn’t give a crap” about what Solo said, because she was headed to Rio for the semifinal (and now the final). There’s a pre-existing relationship there, as there is between Sweden and Brazil — and specifically Marta, who has spent most of her professional career playing there in the Damallsvenskan.

“All of the Swedish players know Marta very well. I think she had a fantastic game,” Sundhage said. “She created a couple of problems for us, but at the end of the day, trying to stop her, I think we did pretty good. Marta is a very good player.”

Marta told reporters that she’ll be rooting for Sweden to win the gold medal.

“Many complain of Sweden’s tactics, but it is their tactic. It must accept. Now I hope they win it all.

“They took us out, hell, they’re going to the final now. Should they lose after that? My God, you can not! I can not accept it!”

[GORDON: Three questions after Olympic disappointment]

Vadao: They carried out their strategy well against USA and neutralized his opponent. The result of the last game was unexpected. But they had a strategy and completed it. It’s not up to me to criticize an opponent, especially when their strategy went well and they have good results in both matches.

Brazil still has a bronze medal to play for, and that means a lot to the hosts, who have at least temporarily captured the hearts of home fans like never before. Brazil is a machismo country where women’s soccer, despite plenty of success — though still no Olympic or World Cup title — hasn’t been widely accepted by fans or supported by the federation. But now, there is hope that this showing will bring change.

“The biggest medal we can win in this Olympics is the respect from our people here [in Brazil],” Brazil’s Bruno Benites said. “Even though people call Brazil the capital of world soccer, that doesn’t apply to women’s soccer. Everyone only supports men’s soccer. These Olympics have changed that.”

Brazil coach Vadao also hopes that the support continues. Brazil had a residency program for the last 18 months in order to prepare for the World Cup and the Olympics.

“As to continuing the project of taking women’s soccer ahead, I am absolutely sure that this will continue,” he said. “Because that’s the wish of the CBF president. The technical commission might be replaced, but the president’s will is there to provide support. As to the future, of course this result brings frustration, and I can’t measure right now what would be the consequences, but I should say we have been working hard, and the effect of that can actually be seen. The team was strong.”

And the elephant in the room: This was Marta’s best shot to win an Olympic or World Cup title. The same goes for Cristiane. And for 38-year-old Formiga, this could be the end of the road.

“I think to lose Formiga, Marta and Cristiane would be regrettable because we need their experience to lead the next generation,” Vadao said.

[The Lowdown: Seven questions for return of NWSL]

  • Cc W

    And I’m pulling for Brazil and Marta! Maybe the Brazilian FF can get some Marta jersey printed up – she’s a legend!

  • mike

    After Buchanan dirty tackles I’m cheering for Brazil to take out the bronze

  • Miami66

    Marta is class. Hope they’ll pick up the Bronze in front of another big crowd.

  • Steglitz49

    Marta seems destined to join male giants of the game like Cruyff and the Grenoli in the list of exceptional players who never won the world cup.

    Hopefully down the years she will be held in tee same regard as them and maybe, like Cruyff and Liedholm even be an outstanding coach of the game or contribute in some other way.

    • BigBadBossMan

      Marta is widely viewed as the best female soccer player of all time….

      • Steglitz49

        Indeed. As I have noted before, WoSo can be divided into BM and AM — though the AM is ambiguous.

    • Guest

      She is only 30. 3 more years is not out of the question

      • Camoes

        If she has Formiga’s constitution look to see Marta in WC2023.

      • Steglitz49

        Indeed.

        In Sweden there are complaints that of the public money that goes to soccer only 20% is spent on girls and ladies while 80% on the boys and men. Boys and men get to play on the best public pitches at the best times etc. Sportsjournalists are asking what Sweden’s women might achieve with a 50/50 split.

        One gets the impression that in Brazil the split is more like 100 to 1.

  • Gary Diver

    Too Bad Marta Stays Home Empty-Handed

    Christine Sinclair told her teammates after the SF loss, “we are not going home empty-handed”. Later, Jessie Fleming told the Canadian press,”I wanted to win a gold medal, but we’re going to win bronze”. Sounds like Herdman talking through his players.

  • BigBadBossMan

    Germany will win the Gold not Sweden….

    This tournament is showing that WoSo is becoming more similar to BroSo in the types of nations which have more skills and abilities. The USA just has athleticism and does not understand the sport too well.

    • Steglitz49

      That is the safe bet and likely outcome.

      I wonder what the odds were for Sweden before the QF and the SF? Do you know? In 2011 before the tournament started the odds were 35:1 against Japan winning the WC even though they were ranked #4 or 5 at the time.

      • Peter

        Here are some odds from the start of the tournament:
        https://www.sportsinsights.com/blog/2016-olympic-soccer-odds/
        If I understand the numbers correctly (using current odds), then at the start of the tournament, the chances of winning were
        5/11 for US (45%)
        1/7 for Brazil (14%)
        2/9 for Germany (22%)
        1/13 for Sweden (8%)
        2/15 for France (13%)
        It’s interesting that people who were willing to put their money where there mouth is were only giving the fabled US team a 45% chance of winning the gold medal – well, it seems safe to say that these punters don’t comment on the EQ given the disbelief I’ve seen here about how the US of all teams could lose.

        In my opinion Sweden now has a 49% chance of winning gold.

      • BigBadBossMan

        I dont know the odds nope but I am sure they were crazy

    • Craigaroo

      So that’s why Brazil met the same fate as the USA? Just having athleticism and not understanding the sport too well?

  • Маркус Джилс

    My heart hurts for that woman, and that Brasilian team. Sports mirrors life in that – it’s not fair, but that loss just felt so wrong.

    Sweden isnt good. We know this. How they play indicates their awareness of that. They win matters much more than how you win.

    Also, Hedvig Lindahl… a witch in PK’s. She was magical. I almost want another 0-0 draw to go to PK’s just to see that again.

    • mockmook

      Sweden is all around very good — but, they are great at bunkering.

  • mskillens

    Rooting for Brasil, Canada, blah……

  • ladywing

    It’s very generous of Marta to wish Sweden well.
    I can not wish the thuggish, bunkering and out right egregious fouling Swedes anything but defeat. I don’t want to see this style infect the other teams.

    • #1Fan

      you cant be serious. US are not above cynical fouls. its part of the game. Lindahl matched Solo in goal and Swe played a very solid game. USA lost. Deal with it.

      • rkmid71

        Wasn’t Wambach’s whole game predicated on intimidation. The most cynical/thuggish foul I’ve ever seen was Wambach taking out Daniela and ending her career — which I witnessed in person. What goes around comes around. I think it’s the US style historically which has infected the other teams, not the other way around. The others had to adjust to compete, especially if the refs allow that nonsense which they do otherwise the games grind to a halt..Germany is similar btw.

        • Steglitz49

          Indeed. The US finds it hard to cope with teams that stand their ground and don’t give an inch and do not roll over and say “after you, ma’am”.

          • rkmid71

            Find it hard to cope because it’s always worked in the past. Isn’t that Carli’s whole game too? In almost every tournament, she leads the field in fouls committed. Though Japan seemed to figure it out in 2011. Not sure what happened in 2003 and 2007. The old guard / veterans don’t seem to know how or can’t play another way. BTW — at the WC, the US averaged 13 fouls per game, Sweden 11, Germany 12. About 40% of the US fouls committed were by two players: Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe. Lloyd led the entire tournament on both absolute basis and per game. It’s the pot calling the kettle black. Let’s no go there. Let’s get better.

          • Steglitz49

            In these OG Rapinoe’s foul paid off.

            FIFA must fix WoSo reffing.

          • JL

            It’s not surprising that a CM would be one of the players that commits a lot of fouls. Go look at the foul leaders in NWSL this season. Most of them are CM.

          • mockmook

            But Lloyd is playing more like a forward.

        • ladywing

          I knew someone would complain about Wambach even though she didn’t play. Thank-you

          • rkmid71

            You’re welcome.

          • Steglitz49

            She did not play in OG-08, which the US won under their new head coach Pia Sundhage.

      • ladywing

        I am serious. Did you watch both of those games? The Swedes made an art form out of cynical fouling.

        • rkmid71

          Each team had 1 YC. Lloyd and Schelin. Sweden had more overall fouls 15 to 6. The US had a few not called like the Rapinoe foul on Aslani which was dangerous. In the Brazil Sweden game, Brazil had 13 fouls, 3 YCs. Swedes 6 fouls, 2 YC.

          • Steglitz49

            The Rapinoe foul on Asllani led to Alex’s goal. IOW Sweden should have won in regulation.

          • Peter

            Thanks for the stats. I watched both games and they seemed average in terms of the number and severity of fouls committed. Against Brazil, Sweden’s 6 fouls committed in 120 minutes, that’s 1 foul per 20 minutes of play … how can you talk of “outright egregious fouling Swedes”? Even against the US, 15 fouls in 120 minutes, 1 in every 8 minutes of play, that does not seem out of line. I understand that people here are sore about the US losing. But let’s not invent a myth of the foul playing Swedes.

          • Steglitz49

            It is a good myth to invent, though.

            Discussing the garbage refereeing in the Swe-US match is not so much fun as an American.

        • Steglitz49

          The Swe-USA game was marred by inept refereeing. The US goal came from off a foul on a Swedish player and Lotta’s goal was good.

          On top of that Sweden should have had a penalty and JJ at least a yellow card when she fouled Sembrandt. It took the ref an awfully long time to book Carli.

        • #1Fan

          so US have well over 1MM registered female soccer players and cant find 11 to outplay/ outhtink a group of Swedes and your ex Coach who you ” moved on” from ? So you blame it on all sorts of things that have been in the game for years. Things that good teams deal with/face ALL the time.

          GET BETTER

          its that simple .

          • ladywing

            We disagree.

          • mockmook

            The USA is better, just the USA’s coach is not.

          • ladywing

            My question was, did you watch those games?

          • #1Fan

            yes

      • Steglitz49

        Hear hear!

      • Get serious

        If US played a solid bus parking game too, then the result would have been different.

        • Guest

          No. If both teams park the buss no one scores everyone hates watching both teams and they still go to a PSO after 120.

  • Gary Diver

    Good sportsmanship

    Seeing Swedish players hugging Marta after shootout was classy and heart-warming. And it was great to hear “the biggest medal we can win in this Olympics is respect from our people in Brazil”.

    • Steglitz49

      Marta is almost Swedish. She speaks excellent Swedish. One of the Swedish track-n-field athletes has a Brazilian mother.

  • Paul Klee

    Sweden really caught the good scheduling break for this tournament. Based in Rio for 4 out of their 6 matches. Then caught an additional break where ther 3rd and 4th matches were played in the same location. They only had to travel twice.

    • Steglitz49

      Did not need to do a Sasaki but it probably came from being one of the two best 3rds.