United States women's soccer coach Greg Ryan is braving a storm of criticism one day after his heavily favored team was defeated at the Women's World Cup football tournament in China. VOA's Jim Stevenson reports from Shanghai, where the sting of Brazil's 4-0 victory on Thursday in Hangzhou, is still being felt by the U.S. women.
The U.S. team canceled its scheduled practice Friday in Shanghai as it tries to regroup following the worst defeat in the squad's history.
Blame is being leveled squarely on the decisions of U.S. coach Greg Ryan. Before the Brazil game, he says he tried to reassure goalkeeper Hope Solo after he replaced her in favor of veteran Brianna Scurry.
"We spent some time together, just sitting down and talking about things today," Ryan said. "And you know, just telling her hey, she has done great at this World Cup. She has got four games under her belt without a loss. She is a young, very talented keeper who will, I am sure, lead this team many years into the future."
Still, after the game, Solo was baffled by the switch.
"It was the wrong decision," she said. "And I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have made those saves. And it does not make any sense to me. It does not make a whole lot of sense to many people."
Following Brazil's 4-0 victory, Ryan is now trying to make another switch, moving the focus from controversy to the third place game on Sunday.
"This game is one game. And it is over now," he said. "And we are moving on to prepare for our game against Norway, another very important match for our team."
Brazil will face defending champion Germany in the final Sunday in Shangahi.