After gold win, women's soccer team glows with joy (not booze)

The U.S. women's soccer team chats about its dramatic gold medal win over Japan, looks ahead to Rio in 2016 and jokes about Hope Solo's 'drunk' comment regarding their 2008 appearance.


It was deja vu all over again for goalie Hope Solo and her teammates from the U.S. women's soccer team on Friday when they appeared on TODAY the morning after a gold medal victory, just as they had four years ago in Beijing. But this time their smiles were fueled only by the euphoria of victory.

That was in contrast to the morning after they beat Brazil in Beijing, when, according to what Solo admitted to ESPN the Magazine, she and some other players were still tipsy from the previous evening's revels when they appeared on TODAY.

On Friday, Matt Lauer asked Solo if he would also be reading about this interview after the fact, but she assured him that the perma-grins on their faces were all natural.

“We are well-hydrated this morning,’’ she joked.

On Thursday Solo was part of an all-around sterling effort in front of 80,203 fans at Wembley Stadium that resulted in a 2-1 win over Japan for the team's third gold medal in the last three Olympics. She made several acrobatic saves, including stopping a 2-on-1 breakaway by smacking away a point-blank shot with both hands in the 83rd minute to preserve a thrilling win.

“I think my heart was in my throat as well,’’ Solo said. “You train so hard as a goalkeeper, you train day in and day out to make those saves, and then you never know if you’re going to have your moment. You never know when the game is going to ask you to make that save, so I had to make it in one game this tournament, in the final game in the 83rd minute.’’

Solo had powerful emotions about the game, but she was able to rein them in to focus.

"I actually was crying on the back of the bus going to the game,'' Solo told Savannah Guthrie in a later segment on TODAY Friday. "(I was) crying for the gratitude I have for this kind of opportunity to fulfill my dreams.''

She also shook off a flare-up earlier in the games when she made headlines after tweeting some critical comments about NBC commentator and former U.S. soccer team member Brandi Chastain.

"There's always controversy,'' Solo told Guthrie. "I think a lot of things are made out to be more than they really are or what is necessary. I have opinions about commentary and other things as well. Everybody can have an opinion.''

In addition to Solo, midfielder Carli Lloyd was another hero as she scored both goals against Japan, four years after she scored the winning goal in overtime to beat Brazil.

“I was counting down the minutes from 70 on,’’ Lloyd said about the pressure-packed game. “I think it’s all in the mind, so whatever you visually prepare comes true.’’

“I think that more than anything, this was just a complete team win,’’ forward Abby Wambach said. “Carli, she comes on, plays a lot of minutes in this tournament - every single player from the first to the last. I just can’t be more proud of this group of people.’’

Now that the Americans have made it three in a row, the focus turns to 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. A backbone of the team throughout its remarkable run in the last 12 years has been veteran defender Christie Rampone. Her teammates jokingly bowed to her on TODAY before making their bid to get her to return for another four years. A mother of two from Point Pleasant, N.J., Rampone, 37, did not rule out the possibility of Rio.

“They keep trying to convince me,’’ Rampone said amid chants of “Four more years!” by her teammates. “I do have it in me, but we’ll see.’’

Read more:

Hope Solo admits to being 'drunk' on TODAY after Beijing win

Slideshow: Gaze at pictures of 17 Olympic hotties

Tearful Lolo Jones: Media 'ripped me to shreds' before race

TODAY's complete London Olympic coverage

Discuss this post

Comment author avatarAlfred Danielsenvia Facebook

A very tainted gold indeed!

  • 1 vote
Reply#1 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:06 AM EDT

Tainted? No such thing. Winners win. Period. An unusual series of calls in the Canada match, I agree, but the US team would have scored in the waning minutes anyway because thats what they do. They were pressing hard and victory was inevitable. The odd (correct, but odd) calls just sped up the inevitable. Canada played a rough, physical game. Tancredi (who I love BTW) was playing way over the line and she probably should have been red carded for the face stomp on Lloyd and her excessive fouling. But it didnt happen. So what? Calls are always missed in soccer. They arent going to go to 3 referees and instant replay and turn the game into a 4 hour commerical snooze fest. You people really disrespect the Canadian team's performance with this incessant whining. It reeks of anti American sentiment, to be honest, and has little to do with the actual game. Canada was great that day and they came up a little short. I feel for them. But someone had to win. Best soccer game Ive ever seen and Canada should be proud of their gritty performance. BTW, talk about "lucky" and "tainted". France totally dominated Canada and Canada walked away with the bronze medal anyway. Why arent you saying Canada got "lucky" Why is it only America that has to live and play by different standards than the rest of the world?

  • 2 votes
#1.1 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:08 PM EDT
Comment author avatarAlfred Danielsenvia Facebook

As tainted a gold medal as ever has been awarded and not been earned.

  • 1 vote
Reply#2 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:09 AM EDT

please do explain.

  • 1 vote
#2.1 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:41 AM EDT

It was a flagrant violation of the rule throughout the game. A violation of the rule no way taints the gold-rules are rules.

    #2.2 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:25 PM EDT

    Goalies delay, delay, delay all of the time and I for one am sick of it. Defenses have been getting away with crap for years and I am glad one finally got slapped down. They got busted (after repeated warnings mind you) so stop sniveling.

    McLeod snivels about no warning but admits this "McLeod said she was told by a linesman at the start of the second half not to slow down play, but didn't consider that a proper warning." If that isn't a warning what is it? Apparently, not only is she a sniveler but she is a dumb one too.

    We won't even go into Canada's physical play that was also over the top.


    • 1 vote
    #2.3 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:39 PM EDT

    Look up Roy Jones Jr. in Seoul to see a real tainted Olympic gold medal.

    While the officiating in general was rather piss-poor, even in the final match with the world's best female football official missing Tobin Heath's blatant handball in the 26', I think it's a bit of a stretch to imply that these results were bought or bargained for.

    • 1 vote
    #2.4 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:21 PM EDT

    As if the IOC, Germany, and Norway conspired to do a favor for America. (Sounds really dumb when you say it out loud, no?)

    • 1 vote
    #2.5 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:36 PM EDT

    A disgruntled canadian crying because their GK got penalized after repeated warning in the game against them and throughout the Olympics for taking too long and delaying the game.... then crying even more because their player didnt keep their hands behind them like most soccer players in the situation and got penalized with a hand ball call, that is 50-50 in those situations.

    Ignore him and leave him to his tears. Go USA!

    • 3 votes
    Reply#3 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:10 PM EDT

    I thought that the USWNT was fantastic and a great group of ladies! There is NOTHING that taints their gold! Great job ladies and can't wait for the next World Cup! USA baby! I enjoyed watching the other nations play also. It was a great Olympics so all you bitter people out there shut the pie hole.

    • 2 votes
    Reply#4 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:51 PM EDT

    What is Scott trying to imply, that the women's team was out drinking all night? What a horrible thing to imply.

      Reply#5 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:59 PM EDT

      No, he's implying that they were NOT out drinking all night, unlike in 2008.

      • 4 votes
      #5.1 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:25 PM EDT

      Congratulations to the USA! Although I find Solo to be arrogant and self promoting, her save near the end won the game.

      I can also understand why Canada is so upset. I played soccer for 30 years and I still coach. First, all I saw was the goalie waiting for her defenders to push up. It is now emerging that that thug Wombach started to stand right behind the ref and counted to ten each time the Canadian goalie had the ball. I'm sure no money changed hands but this ref was clearly intimidated by this. The resulting free kick was something I haven't seen at any level for 40 years. If the ref had already warned the goalie the correct action was to give her a yellow card and tell her to kick the ball up field. On a yellow, she couldn't risk doing it again. Regarding the penalty the law is clear, the handball has to be a deliberate act. Flinching, and turning your back into a shot coming at you at high velocity, does not meet this definition.

      • 1 vote
      Reply#6 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:25 PM EDT

      Ian, if you are really a soccer coach, which I doubt, you would know that a yellow card in this case would have the same result. You can't give a yellowcard in this instance just because the official wants to, you have to give it for a violation. Either way the USA gets a kick. Seriously, do you really want ref's giving out yellow cards just because they want to regardless of whether or not a violation has occurred?

      As to the handball, flinching or turning into the ball is CLEARLY an act which no longer makes the contact incidental. Incidental contact is when the ball is moving in such a way the person cannot avoid the contact , for example kicked from such a close distance the person cannot react to avoid contact, or was unaware they would make contact if they didn't move, for example someone hit them from behind or the ball bounced into them. In this case the person actually moved into it the ball and it is self evident the above circumstances don't apply. Here is one of the best comments about whether or not it is ball handling I have ever seen (from a very senior referee) "A good rule-of-thumb to use is if the player's hand comes to the ball, it is a foul. If the ball comes to the hand, it is not a foul." In this instance, she clearly came to the ball and in the box no less! Not calling it so would leave anyone able to claim, "I just flinched".

      If you are a soccer coach you should know these things.....

      • 3 votes
      #6.1 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:58 PM EDT

      If the ref had already warned the goalie the correct action was to give her a yellow card and tell her to kick the ball up field.

      In what world of soccer is this a rule book solution?

      Incidental contact is one that also has little impact on the game. You CANNOT handle the ball on a shot in the box in any manner, even "incidentally", and expect to get away with it.

        #6.2 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:56 PM EDT

        booze? they think booze is fine . Pot would probably be better or for that matter whats the difference. lats right booze is legal and pot isn't addicting "O"...sorry... forgot.

          Reply#7 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:27 PM EDT

          Abby Wambach isnt a thug. Melissa Tancredi is much more of a thug. if by "thug", you mean a player that uses physicality to offset their lack of technical skill. Not that there is anything wrong with that. The US has Lauren Cheney. Canada has Tancredi. You need a player like that sometimes. That description certainly doesnt apply to Abby Wambach. BTW, Ive seen hundreds of strikers count off the time with their fingers to draw the refs attention to the time being wasted by the GK. Juergen Klinsmann was a master of this tactic and noone ever called Klinsmann a thug, . Its not only to get the goalie to speed up the game if you are an attacking type team but it is a way to make sure the ref is calculating all those extra wasted seconds to be added on to the extra time alotted at the end of the period. When you are behind, you need as much time as possible. That is the forward-most striker's JOB. You call Wambach a thug because she was doing what all great strikers do? Puhlease.

          • 2 votes
          Reply#8 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:19 PM EDT

          The Canadians can whine and cry all they want to! They lost the game based on stupidity and then cry about it. As far as the ladies celebrating after each goal: pppffffftttttttttt! Men celebrate goals, too! Apparently the folks yapping about the celebrations don't watch MLS, ESL, etc., and see the dances, congas, and so forth the men put on. I have seen a male team flatten the man who scored the goal on the field and roll around in a big pile for up to a minute. Back flips, runs, jumps, group hugs all happen on the soccer field. Let them celebrate! The New Zealand coach must be one very dour, sour, stick-in-the-mud, sober man to disallow celebration of a goal.

          • 2 votes
          Reply#9 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:35 PM EDT

          Inconsistent if not bizarre refereeing 'influenced' the result in both the final and semi-final matches. It is very unfortunate as the 'yapping' is partially valid, and so the gold medal for the US women's team is not quite as clean and bright as they'd wish.

            Reply#10 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:53 PM EDT

            refereeing 'influenced' the result in both the final and semi-final matches

            This happens in every sport to every team many times throughout a season or tournament...not that it makes it okay. It's just that the best teams (USA women in this case) overcome the obstacle when it happens to them.

            • 2 votes
            #10.1 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:04 PM EDT

            @Matt Exactly. Good teams find a way to win in spite of the refs.

              #10.2 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:28 PM EDT

              You can see why people might be a touch bitter about the refs in the last 2 US matches.

              First off - when was the last time you have seen a free kick on a game stall? The announcers will point it out. "Trying to bleed as much time off the clock as possible" has been heard on way more than one occasion. Even Alexi Lalas (American, BTW) was critical of that call.

              Things happen - on to the final against Japan...

              ...where you have an obvious handball by the US that wasn't called. If the Canadian in the semi was called for a handball, then the American certainly should have been. Now, there is no guarantee that the PK will be scored - but we'll never know, because the refs completely missed the call.

              Tainted is too strong a word. However, when you have two matches where the referees are named in anything but more than a passing sentence, you create a situation where some may view the accomplishment in a lesser light.

              What's funny are the comments from both sides. On one side, you have the conspiracy theories about game fixing, etc. This isn't boxing (grin). However, on the other side you have those who say weird things like "well, it didn't matter - the US would have scored without the free kick/handball anyway" - which is a pretty big assumption with 10 minutes to go.

              I'm sure being the Olympic champion helps the US team feel a little better about lossing the World Cup, but in soccer the World Cup is the world championship - and the world champ is still Japan.

              • 2 votes
              Reply#11 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:07 PM EDT

              What's soccer?

                Reply#12 - Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:58 PM EDT
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