The United States women's soccer team (USWNT) has been subjected to ugly criticism after crashing out of the Olympic Games in a heartbreaking semi-final defeat to Canada on Monday night.
Canada created history after defeating the four-time Olympic and World Cup-winning Americans 1-0 to qualify for their first ever final at the Games.
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A 75th-minute penalty, conceded by Tierna Davidson for a foul on Deanne Rose, was converted by Canada’s Jessie Fleming after a video review.
The Americans had no rhythm, no composure, no verveand were errant with their passing, sloppy with their touch and looked fatigued and frustrated during their first loss to Canada since 2001.
Head coach Vlatko Andonovski and fans alike had envisioned a fluid, ferocious USWNT that pressed opponents high up the field, picked them apart through midfield, and pounced on mistakes. It
However, very little of that was evident against Canada or throughout the tournament as a whole.
The brutal reality of America's defeat was laid bare by the fact that the gold medal match - unlike the other finals and group games - is being played earlier in the day to suit the enormous TV audience in the States.
Not only has that backfired on the USWNT, but the team's own fans have once again turned on them in an ugly aftermath to the defeat.
The team's decision to take a stand against racism by taking a knee during the national anthem before their matches has divided opinion in the United States throughout the tournament and it again proved a thorny issue after the loss to Canada.
Many Americans view kneeling during the national anthem as an insult to those who have served the country, with some - including former President Donald Trump - taking delight in their previous defeat to Sweden in the group stages at the Games.
Similar criticism followed their loss to Canada on Monday night, with the Daily Caller's David Hookstead leading the charge in a series of brutal swipes on social media.
"The US women's soccer team lost to Canada in the Olympics," he posted alongside a video on Twitter.
"For a team that does so much complaining, we sure don't seem to win as much as we should.
"This is what happens when you go woke. You don't win and fans turn against you.
Fans certainly did turn against the American women, with disgusting criticism of the team flooding social media in the wake of their loss to Canada.
USWNT to play Matildas for bronze
Defeat for the USWNT means they'll face Australia in the bronze medal match after the Matildas controversially lost 1-0 to Sweden in the other semi-final.
Australia controversially had a Sam Kerr goal ruled out in the 42nd minute and copped a cruel sucker punch from Fridolina Rolfo less than a minute into the second half to fall short at International Stadium Yokohama.
To make matters worse, star defender Ellie Carpenter will be suspended for the bronze medal match after being sent off in the 95th minute.
"Before the game everyone talked about Sweden being the best team in the tournament, playing fantastic attacking football," coach Tony Gustavsson said, lauding his team's bravery and attacking mindset.
"We showed from the first minute that we wanted to dominate this game, there was no fear whatsoever.
"... I said to (the players) 'I'm very proud about the performance but I'm very disappointed about the result'.
"I also said we have unfinished business - we need to recover and make sure we perform as well in the bronze game coming up."
The game's first defining moment saw Kerr cleverly volley Steph Catley's free kick home at the near post.
But referee Melissa Borjas ruled an offside Emily van Egmond further down the line of players had blocked the run of Swedish defenders, leaving the Matildas up in arms.
Gustavsson said he was "disappointed" to have the goal disallowed and he needed to see the replays to understand the call, while Catley was perplexed.
"I didn't get to speak to the referee. She didn't answer me," Catley said.
"She didn't say why it was disallowed - but maybe some of the other girls were able to speak to her. But it didn't look like anything clear in my opinion."
Sweden then snatched the lead in the most fortuitous of fashions in the 46th minute.
Chloe Logarzo partially blocked Filippa Angeldal's long-range shot but it took a wicked deflection and a backtracking Teagan Micah was only able to tip the awkwardly bouncing ball onto the crossbar.
In the resulting chaos, the ball nicked out for Rolfo to inventively stick out her leg and hack home from close range.
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