One day out from facing her former team in the FIFA Women's World Cup, Sweden head coach Pia Sundhage has opened up with some interesting observations of her former team.
Sundhage is a world-class coach and previously led the U.S. women's national team to two straight World Cup finals, as well as a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. When she left U.S. Soccer to helm the national team of her home country, she was graciously thanked on her way out by everyone associated with the team.
That doesn't mean she checked her opinions at the door. Sundhage opened up to The New York Times about her impressions of several U.S. stars from her past teams, most notably embattled goalkeeper Hope Solo.
Asked this week about her comments about Solo in the Times article, Sundhage elaborated.
"She's a piece of work," Sundhage says. "But that’s good as well. Things happen around her … She’s the best goalkeeper in the world, so why wouldn’t you try to make her happy? And at the same time, she has a team spirit. It’s a little bit of a bumpy road."
Sundhage also had a very determined opinion of what U.S. star Abby Wambach's role on the team should be. According to the Swedish coach, she's even told the 35-year-old how she would have handled her presence on the team.
"I told her: 'If I stayed, you would be a sub. The best sub ever. But a sub,'" Sundhage says. "There was no question about that in my mind."
Those words might seem pointed, but let's understand one thing: Sundhage loved coaching the U.S. team, and she was fantastic -- in 107 matches, she only lost six times.
The U.S.-Sweden match on Friday will be a nostalgic one for both sides -- but it should also prove to be a great show.