Women's World Cup: Hope Solo says USWNT 'got lucky' in round of 16 win over Spain

Hope Solo has never been one to refrain from controversial words. Just before the 2019 World Cup, she called out U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis, saying she "cracks under pressure." This week, she was at it again. In a column in The Guardian, Solo said the USWNT got lucky in its 2-1 win against Spain in the round of 16.

It was the USA's toughest game of the tournament and saw the team concede its first goal of the cup on a misplay at the back. Megan Rapinoe's two penalty kick goals saved the United States from an upset. 

Solo, who was the starting goalkeeper for the USWNT in the three previous World Cups, has been in France for this year's tournament. She didn't seem too impressed with the Americans' latest win, saying the team "got lucky" against Spain and that the winning goal came on a "very soft" penalty -- one that was confirmed by VAR.

Here is some of what Solo wrote:

The United States got lucky against Spain. They didn't score from open play and their second penalty was very soft – if it was a penalty at all. I watched the replay in the broadcasting booth over and over again, and none of us could see if Rose Lavelle was touched or not.

Lucky? Maybe. It's not the USA's fault it got two penalty kicks and put them away. The team did enough to win and handled adversity for the first time this summer. Spain certainly didn't deserve to win the game, so it's hard to say the U.S. got lucky. The Americans were fortunate to get two penalties, but they did what they needed to win. 

Solo also said that Alex Morgan not taking the second penalty after initially stepping up to take it showed Solo that "she was off her game." 

That feels more like Solo is trying to stir the pot than the first comment. Morgan already came out to explain that she was given the second penalty by Rapinoe, but Ellis decided to go with the hot hand. It's not that Morgan was off her game, it's more about what Spain did to neutralize her. The Spanish opted for a rough style of play and knocked Morgan to the ground time and time again to disrupt her flow. Morgan had also been dealing with an unspecified injury. But when it comes to the penalty, Morgan didn't seem to have any trouble with the decision. 

"[Rapinoe] gave me the ball, but it's ultimately the coach's decision. The ball went back to [Rapinoe], and it went in the back of the net," Morgan said. 

It's only natural to see this friction between Solo and the U.S. after having her contracted terminated following the 2016 Olympics. Solo won the 2015 World Cup with the U.S., and the U.S. is now trying to do it without her while ignoring her words

The USA takes on France at 3 p.m. ET on Friday in the quarterfinals on fuboTV (Try for free).  

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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