Still working on a few things over in Beijing, where it's 5 a.m. and counting, but I figured I'd put up a few quotes from a very happy, very gold-colored U.S. post-game mixed zone. Here's the game story.
The medal ceremony, if you didn't see, was endless; the Brazilians looked morose, the U.S. looked proud, and the Germans looked like they had already started their party. "Germans are great," Kate Markgraf said.
Then came a slow procession of U.S. players. Carli Lloyd, the game-winning goal scorer, was last, since she was being drug tested. The bus evidently left without her, with the team leaving behind a private driver. As for their plans tonight, "Have a couple beverages," Hope Solo said with a smile.
Speaking of Hope, every news outlet in the world will make her a major part of tomorrow's coverage, as well they should, and teammates praised her play, but it was obvious they didn't want this to be the Hope Solo Redemption Tale. And Hope, from the sound of things, didn't either; "if one gold medal takes away all the pain in the world, then that's fake," she said.
Hope Solo, on the moment: "I always play better under pressure so I had no doubt that I would play one of my best games tonight, I had no doubt."
Hope Solo, on the ending: "I couldn't believe it. I mean, honestly, it was unreal to me. You hear those words all the time, but I really couldn't fathom it. I mean, it's like a storybook ending, and it's something you see in Hollywood and in these fairy tales and yet it was really playing out. And my life doesn't play out that way all the time, you know, there's been a lot of hardships, and so I was just hoping this one time it really would turn out right."
Hope Solo, on confidence: "That first game I had a lot of nerves and I was disappointed in myself. When I'm nervous I don't play my best, so the first game I had some nerves, and then it got better with time each game, and that last game, tonight: nothing. No nerves were inside me at all, it was all confidence. Last night, I knew we were gonna win. And I knew it was gonna be tough, I know Brazils' an amazing team, but I've never had so much confidence."
Heather Mitts, on fitness: "That's how the U.S. always is, we're always prepared no matter what. No matter if you're tired, no matter if you're exhausted, you're always going to act like you aren't."
Heather Mitts, on her iPod: "I saw your article, I was cracking up."
Christie Rampone on overtime: "I think at that point when you know you have another 30 minutes and you feel great and fit and you're looking over at the Brazilians and they're on the ground, it just boosts us up even more. Like, we're fit, we're ready, this is what we've been training for for eight months, this is why we were running our butts off all year long."
Kate Markgraf, on the doubters: "Aafter the quarterfinal press conference where everyone was kind of slamming us and telling us how lucky we were to be there, we got really pissed off. REALLY pissed off. And then after the semifinals when everyone told us we were lucky we played Japan and not Germany, we were pissed off again."
Kate Markgraf, on the future: "I'm pretty sure Pia will have a job next year."
Carli Lloyd, on Hope Solo: "Amazing. I've told her a number of times that she's by far the best goalkeeper in the world, and that game today is leaving people scratching their heads now about her. She played unbelievable today, and if it weren't for her there would have been some goals definitely in the back of the net."
Brazilian Coach Jorge Barcellos: " We had a lot of trust, we thought we would win, we were almost sure we were gonna make it. We're very sure about it, because of the games we played, because of our history, because of the way we played so far. But football is very complex, very complicated. We dominated but we didn't make it."
Christie Rampone: "The dream came true, you know?"