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Andonovski responds to Lloyd USWNT ‘dancing and smiling’ criticism


Vlatko Andonovski says it is “insane” to question the mentality of the USWNT after Carli Lloyd criticised the players’ reaction following a 0-0 draw with Portugal.

The U.S. qualified for the last 16 but failed to win its group for just the second time in Women’s World Cup history after Tuesday’s stalemate. It avoided a late elimination scare after Ana Capeta struck the post for Portugal in second-half stoppage time.

Broadcaster Fox Sports briefly showed footage of Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Crystal Dunn dancing at full-time as captain Lindsey Horan laughed and applauded, while Trinity Rodman posed for photographs with supporters.

Players also looked disappointed at the result but former U.S. World Cup winner Lloyd, working as a pundit for Fox, said: “I have never witnessed something like that.

“There’s a difference between being respectful of the fans and saying hello to your family. But to be dancing, to be smiling? I mean, the player of the match was that post. You’re lucky to not be going home right now.”


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Vlatko Andonovski defended his side (Getty Images)

Andonovski conceded his side were below par but dismissed criticism of his side’s desire to win.

“One thing that I want to say is that this team wanted to win this game more than anything else, and they did everything they could in preparation for this tournament and in every game,” he said. “To question the mentality of this team, to question the willingness, the willingness to win, I think it’s insane.

GO DEEPER

This is me: Carli Lloyd

“But I’ve never seen this team step on the field and not try harder and not compete. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and they can say whatever they want, but I just know how this team feels.

“And it’s not like we played well, but we own it. We know it’s not good enough. We know we’re not happy with our performance, but it’s, you know, we qualified for the next round. We’re moving on.”

The U.S. will face the winner of Group G in the last 16 in Melbourne on August 6. Sweden are in pole position to top Group G after two wins from their opening two group games. The U.S. will learn its last-16 opponent following the final round of Group G fixtures on Wednesday.

GO DEEPER

USWNT 0-0 Portugal: Our instant analysis

(Photo: Jan Kruger – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)



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