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Women’s World Cup: USA held back by ‘sense of fear’, says Hope Solo

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Highlights: England 1-2 USA

The United States are being held back because they play with a “sense of fear” despite reaching the World Cup final, according to former goalkeeper Hope Solo.

Solo, 37, says the US were too negative during their 2-1 semi-final win against England on Tuesday.

“It wasn’t a 90-minute performance because there is that sense of fear,” Solo told the Football Daily Podcast.

“We like to play conservative football, especially when we go a goal up.”

Solo, who played 202 times for the US and won the World Cup in 2015, added: “I don’t know why we do it, I think we should go for another goal.

“Carli [Lloyd] had a wide open goal but decided not to shoot and that would have ended the game right then and there.

“I understand there’s game management, there’s tactics, but if you can score then score and end the game.”

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  • ‘Sloppy’ England must be honest with themselves to take next step – Scott

Solo believes the blame lies with coach Jill Ellis, whose tactics mean she is not getting the best out of the United States squad.

“This has what got me in the trouble in the past with my comments towards the United States because I don’t like that kind of football from Jill Ellis,” said Solo.

“That’s in our DNA; we have a history of falling back defensively. We are a good enough team to keep possession to go after another attack, to pass the ball around. But I think that fear starts with the leader, your manager.

“I can’t necessarily say these things in the USA and when I do get I get ridiculed for being un-American or hating on Jill Ellis. But I want to analyse the game, I want to critique the game.”

Despite being unhappy with their style of play Solo believes USA will claim a record fourth world title in Sunday’s final, where they will play either Sweden or European champions the Netherlands.

That is despite injury concerns over Megan Rapinoe, who missed the semi-final with a hamstring injury, and Rose Lavelle, who limped off during the second half.

“I’m not worried because of the depth on our bench,” said Solo. “Rose Lavelle has been a fantastic player but we still have Lindsey Horan to control that midfield.

“Megan Rapinoe doesn’t have the legs and the endurance like some of the players do, historically we know that. So putting Christen Press in was a great move by Ellis; she can run and score goals.”

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women’s sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women’s sport and alter perceptions.Find out more here.

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