After a devastating defeat to Sweden in the Round of 16, the United States was eliminated from the Women’s World Cup. Sweden advanced to the next round after defeating the defending champions on penalty kicks, 5-4, with the final penalty just missing the goal.
Lina Hurtig’s conversion sent the U.S. home after a scoreless stalemate, putting an end to the Americans’ bid for a record-setting third consecutive title. It is the earliest departure in tournament history for the two-time defending champions and four-time victors, the United States.
Julie Ertz wept after the loss, “We didn’t put anything in the back of the net.” “The sanctions were severe. It’s emotional because this is likely my final game ever. It’s just difficult. This is an emotional period. Obviously, it stinks. The worst are the penalties.”
Alyssa Naeher, the American goalkeeper, contended in vain that she had saved Hurtig’s shot, but it was deemed to have crossed the goal line. As the Swedes celebrated, “Dancing Queen” by Abba played in the stadium.
The United States was eliminated for the first time in team history in the Round of 16. Three times, the American’s worst finish was third place.
The setback was somewhat anticipated given the Americans’ lackluster performance in their first three group stage matches. But against Sweden, they played their finest game of this World Cup, only to lose on penalties.
“I am proud of the women on the field,” stated U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski. “I am aware that we were criticized for the manner in which we played and for various instances during the group stage. I believe that we displayed courage, resiliency, and determination today. The courage demonstrated that we did everything possible to win the contest. Unfortunately, soccer can sometimes be ruthless.”
It was the first World Cup match to require extra time.
It was the fourth occasion the United States advanced to extra time at the World Cup. All three previous encounters, including the 2011 final won by Japan, were decided on penalties. The United States defeated Brazil on penalties in a quarterfinal match in 2011 and China in the Rose Bowl final in 1999.
On penalties, Sweden eliminated the United States from the 2016 Olympics quarterfinals.
Sweden advances to the quarterfinals to face the 2011 World Cup champion Japan, who defeated Norway 3-1 on Saturday evening.
Neither the World Cup nor the Olympics have ever been won by Sweden. 2003 was the nearest the team has come to winning the World Cup. They placed third in 1999, 2011, and 2019 and won silver medals in the last two Olympic competitions.
The result terminated Megan Rapinoe’s international career, as she stated this would be her final World Cup. In her final tournament, she played a lesser role for the United States. She was a substitute in the United States’ first and third group games, but did not play in the second.
In her final game and few minutes of action against Sweden, she failed to control a deep pass, whiffed on a rebound, struck the crossbar with a corner kick, and then missed the penalty that would have won the game for the United States.
The United States labored in group play, scoring only four goals in three encounters. They were nearly eliminated by Portugal on Tuesday, but escaped with a 0-0 draw to finish second in their group for just the second time in World Cup history.
US Dominates Sweden but Settles for Draw in Women’s Soccer Clash
The United States played much better against Sweden, dominating possession and outshooting the Swedes 5-1 in the opening period. Lindsey Horan’s first-half header and second-half shot were both denied by goalkeeper Zecira Musovic, who made six saves during regulation. Sweden won all three group games, including a 5-0 thrashing of Italy. Coach Peter Gerhardsson made nine lineup changes in anticipation of the United States, sparing his mainstays.
The atmosphere was tense from the opening siren.
On an early Sweden corner kick, Naeher punched the ball away from a congested goal with a strike. Three of Sweden’s four goals against Italy were scored via set pieces. In the 18th minute, Musovic easily captured Trinity Rodman’s long-range shot, and in the 27th minute, he thwarted Rodman’s second opportunity.
Horan’s strike off a corner kick by Andi Sullivan in the 34th minute struck the crossbar and missed the goal. Horan had a shot on goal in the 53rd minute, but Musovic blocked it with a diving save. Horan sank to the ground in exasperation as Musovic was surrounded by her teammates. Rose Lavelle, who received her second yellow card of the tournament in the final group stage match against Portugal, was ineligible to play against Sweden.
In the absence of Lavelle, Andonovski started Emily Sonnett, who had not appeared for the team since 2022. Horan was able to advance higher in the midfield due to Sonnett’s inclusion.
In the final ten minutes of regulation, Sweden surged. Sofia Jakobsson, who entered the game as a substitution in the 81st minute, nearly scored in the 85th minute, but Naeher made her first save of the tournament to prevent the goal.
Source: CBS News