US soccer legend Carli Lloyd questioned this World Cup squad's 'passion.' The coach said that's 'insane.'

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The US Women's National Team's lackluster — bordering on catastrophic — performance in its final game of the 2023 World Cup group stage drew criticism from around the world.

But no voice was more forceful in its rebuke of the two-time reigning champions' showing than that of newly retired USWNT superstar Carli Lloyd.

The legendary American striker — who won two World Cups and two Olympic gold medals with The Stars and Stripes — expressed frustration with her former team's players for "dancing" and "smiling" after Tuesday's poor performance against Portugal ended in a scoreless draw.

US Women's National Team players chat during their group stage match against Portugal.
US Women's National Team players chat during their group stage match against Portugal.Carmen Mandato/USSF/Getty Images

"There's a difference between being respectful of the fans and saying hello to your family, but to be dancing, to be smiling?" Lloyd said on FOX after the match.

"I mean, the player of the match was that post," she added, referencing a shot from Portugal's Ana Capeta that would've knocked the US out of the tournament had it not ricocheted off of the goalpost. "You are lucky to not be going home right now."

Though the USWNT managed to narrowly escape the group, Tuesday's disappointing result left the squad in a distant second place behind the Netherlands. It also bought the Americans a date with Group G's first-place finisher — likely Sweden, a nightmarish matchup for the US — in their first match of the knockout stage.

Swedish players celebrating.
Swedish players celebrate after winning in penalty kicks and knocking the USWNT out of the 2016 Rio Olympics.Steve Bardens-FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Later in the broadcast, Lloyd said she was disappointed to not be "seeing that passion" from the US given the stakes of the Portugal game and the dire consequences of a less-than-stellar result. She went on to call their output "uninspiring" and accused the team of "taking it for granted."

"There's a difference between confidence and arrogance," Lloyd continued. "That's a fine line of where is the direction going with that. It's okay to be confident, but you never want to cross that line of being arrogant."

"This is exactly what can come and bite you," she added.

When a reporter asked USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski for a response to Lloyd's critiques during his post-match press conference, the 46-year-old quickly and fervently came to his squad's defense. While he acknowledged that he and his players "are not happy with our performance" and know that Tuesday's showing was "not good enough," he also noted that he's never witnessed this team "not try hard or not compete."

"The one thing that I want to say is that this team wanted to win this game more than anything else," Andonovski said. "They've put everything they could in preparation for this tournament and in every game that they go."

"To question the mentality of this team, to question the willingness to win, to compete — I think it's insane," he added.

The reigning champions next take the field in Melbourne, where they'll likely face a Sweden side that knocked them out of the 2016 Rio Olympics and beat them 3-0 at the Tokyo Games five years later. Fans stateside can tune in to watch the action unfold on FOX Sunday at 5 a.m. ET (7 p.m. local time).

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