United States women knocked out of World Cup after heartbreaking penalty shootout

August 6th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

The USWNT is out of the Women’s World Cup after a heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to Sweden in the round of 16.

Lina Hurtig’s dramatic penalty condemned the USA to a shock early exit after the sides played out a 0-0 draw in Melbourne.

The USA had aimed to become the first team in history to win three-straight World Cup titles.

But after scraping thru from Group E in second place they found Sweden too physical in their first knockout matchup.

Trinity Rodman was promoted to the starting XI, with veteran Megan Rapinoe again only on the bench.

The first half saw few chances for either team as Andi Sullivan went closest with a fierce shot from the edge of the penalty area.

After the break, the USA pushed forward in search of a winner but couldn’t find a way past Zecira Musovic in the Swedish goal.

And following a tense extra time, penalty kicks were needed to separate the two sides.

Nathalie Bjorn and Rapinoe both skied over the bar before Alyssa Naeher made a brilliant save from Rebecka Blomqvist.

Sophia Smith had the chance to send the USWNT into the quarter-finals but sent the ball agonizingly wide.

And Kelley O’Hara struck the post in sudden death, giving Hurtig the chance to win it.

Naeher got a huge hand to the shot, but VAR deemed that Hurtig’s penalty had snuck over the line by the barest of margins.

It condemns the USA to their earliest-ever exit from a World Cup.

The shock loss comes after legendary forward Carli Lloyd had criticized USWNT players following their 0-0 draw with Portugal in the group stages.

The Stars & Stripes were lucky to salvage a draw in the game, with the right post coming to their rescue.

And Lloyd had been fuming that some players were seen dancing and laughing after the contest.

She raged on FS1: “I have never witnessed something like that.

“There’s a difference between being respectful of the fans and saying hello to your family, but to be dancing, to be smiling.

“I mean, the player of the match was that post. You are lucky to not be going home right now.”

Sweden now advances to the quarter-final stage where they will face Japan.

With the USA out and unable to retain their crown, the Women’s World Cup will have a new winner for the first time since 2011.

Photo Credit: FIFAWWC/X twitter

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