CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE in RIO DE JANEIRO: The head coach of the Brazil women’s football team paid tribute to the 70,000 strong crowd in the Maracana who watched his side crash out of the Rio 2016 semi-finals on penalties to Sweden – but said he would not apologise for the manner of defeat.
Vadao, in charge since 2014, expressed his frustration at the result especially given that his team were dominant for most of the match and had more than 30 attempts on goal.
However, after extra-time ended 0-0, Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl saved two penalties in the shootout and Lisa Dahlkvist converted their last kick to send them through to their first Olympic football final at the expense of the hosts.
Vadao said: “We had the control of the game but we had very few opportunities to score and then the penalties turned out as we know.
“The whole atmosphere of the stadium was very favourable and of course I have no complaints. So we owe them one, because they did their part.”
He later continued: “I feel frustration, there is no other way to describe the feeling. Nevertheless I will not apologise to our supporters because I feel that we did dominate the match and we did try to find the best way round, we even infiltrated at times with our moves that we had practised before.
“At the end we even tried playing in a more disorganised fashion. We tried everything possible within 120 minutes. We really did try to do our best and I can only say this is very frustrating.”
There was contrasting jubilation among the Swedes who will make history by coming away from Brazil with the country’s first Olympic football medal.
Head coach Pia Sundhage has the chance to make history too by becoming the first coach to win three women’s football gold medals at the Games. Previously she led the United States to victory at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
It was her old team too who Sweden beat on penalties in the quarter-finals to make it to the Maracana. US goalkeeper Hope Solo attacked Sweden’s tactics afterwards and labelled them “cowards’. Sundhage denied, however, that Solo’s comments were a significant motivator going into Tuesday’s game.
She said: “I wouldn’t say we thought about it many times, because football is so much more than a comment here or there when people talk in the media. I would say it’s more about taking our journey on the road, and the US team always wins a medal so we were very proud to be able to play the semi-final and now the final.
“So what people say in the media it’s not a big deal. Very often you say it and you don’t mean it. We talk about football.”
Dahlkvist, who scored the winning penalty, shared her excitement at returning to the Maracana to play for the gold medal but was not allowing herself to dream too much just yet.
“It would mean so much to win a gold medal,” the midfielder said. “It’s the biggest thing that I could win and I’m so looking forward to playing in the final.
She added: “We are happy but we are not finished yet.”