The United States women’s national team has been knocked out at the Women’s World Cup round of 16 after a 5-4 penalty shootout defeat at the hands of Sweden on Sunday.
The USWNT entered the tournament as reigning two-time champion but has been bounced at its earliest stage ever, exiting by the narrowest of margins with Lina Hurtig’s winning penalty barely crossing the line and requiring VAR to confirm the goal.
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Vlatko Andonovski’s side made its way out of the group stages despite winning just one game, and the USWNT came unstuck again as Sweden goalkeeper Zećira Mušović nullified its dominance with a number of inspired saves to send the game to extra-time.
Megan Rapinoe come off the bench on 99 minutes in place of Alex Morgan, and the U.S. added even more pressure on Sweden’s goal, but still the deadlock could not broken with the game going to penalties.
The USWNT netted its first three spot kicks, but saw attempts from Rapinoe, Sophia Smith and Kelley O’Hara miss the target before Sweden’s Lina Hurtig stepped up with a chance to win the match. USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher got a hand to Hurtig’s attempt and nearly kept it out, but the ball looped toward the goal, with a VAR check showing it had crossed the line by the a tiny margin.
The USWNT’s only other penalty shootout defeat at the Women’s World Cup came in the 2011 final against Japan.