Australia’s MELBOURNE — The U.S. women’s national soccer team no longer holds the Women’s World Cup champion title. In the round of 16, Sweden beat the U.S. 5-4 in a penalty shootout after extra time ended with no goals.
The U.S. team has never left a Women’s World Cup as early as they did when they lost on penalties.
This was a game that the U.S. could have and should have won, but they didn’t because of how good Sweden’s goalkeeper Zecira Musovic was and because they couldn’t score in the penalty shootout when one more kick would have won it. Sophia Smith had a chance to win but didn’t hit the mark when she tried. There was some doubt about whether U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher stopped Lina Hurtig’s shot, but VAR decided that the shot went in, and the U.S. is now out.
The funny thing is that the U.S. had their best tournament game, controlling the ball and making the most chances. Lindsey Horan came closest to scoring. In the first half, she hit the bar, and in the second, she made Musovic make a great save. Horan wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Musovic was the Player of the Game because he made 11 saves and helped Sweden stand up to a lot of pressure from the U.S. Now she is a hero, and Sweden is moving on.
Here’s how each U.S. team did.
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Manager score (Scale of 1-10)
8-year-old Vlatko Andonovski — Andonovski mostly stuck to his original starting lineup, making only two changes from the team that played Portugal and tied 0-0. Rose Lavelle was taken out of the lineup and replaced by Emily Sonnett. On the right wing, Lynn Williams was replaced by Trinity Rodman. Sonnett was put on the field with Andi Sullivan in a double pivot. There was some risk in making the move. Sonnett has played chiefly outside back for the USWNT, but she played holding midfielder when she came on as a substitute against Portugal. She has also played a lot of minutes in this role for her club team, OL Reign, this season.
Everything about the U.S. looked much better after the change. The passing was more accurate, and the pressing was better coordinated. All they needed was a goal.
But once again, he didn’t use his bench much. In regulation, he only made one sub, and early in extra time, he made another before making two more late. Would it have made a difference if he had used his bench earlier and more often? We’ll never know, and now they’re out of the Women’s World Cup.
Player ratings (0–10, where ten is the best and five is average)
GK Alyssa Naeher, age 7 — She didn’t have much to do, but she handled corners well, even though she was called for a foul on one of those plays. Made a brilliant save on Sofia Jakobsson late in the game. He was a bit too aggressive in set pieces toward the end, but that didn’t hurt anything. They scored a goal and made a save in the shootout.
DF Crystal Dunn, age 6 — She sometimes had trouble staying on her feet, but she made good passes when she did.
DF Naomi Girma, age 8 — Played a lot of long balls to try to get Sweden’s defense less intense. She was her usual solid self on the defensive side of the ball. Her books are great.
DF Julie Ertz, age 7 — In the 30th minute, he stopped a shot by Stina Blackstenius that would have been a goal, and he was steady the whole time.
DF Emily Fox, age 7 — He saw a lot of the ball and helped keep the U.S. offense going by making some good tackles and playing with a lot of hustle.
MID Emily Sonnett, age 8 — What the United States needed. She made tackles and kept her cool on the ball. Just made a massive difference in how well the U.S. did.
MID-Andi Sullivan, age 7 — Sonnett by her side helped her a lot. She looked sharper on the ball and more confident when approaching it. She made her attempt to shoot out.
MID Lindsey Horan, age 6 — She seemed like she could have passed the ball better, but she had the best chances for the U.S. to score. In the 34th minute, she hit the bar with a header, and in the 54th minute, Musovic stopped her rocket. He was one of the Americans who scored during the shootout.
FW Sophia Smith, age 4 — Initially, she seemed slow at everything but got better. Still, he had to be quick on the ball. She seemed to be more at ease in the middle. She missed the shot in the shootout that would have won.
FW Alex Morgan No. 4 — The U.S. attacked hard and made some selfless runs, but they still needed more. Nearly won it with a header late in the game, but Musovic stopped it.
FW Trinity Rodman, age 6 — Very active in the first half, getting free for a few shots that Musovic had to stop with sharp saves. Grew less attractive after halftime.
Substitutes (Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating) (Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
Lynn Williams, age 6 — After coming on, he made some sharp runs. Needed to be more aggressive when clearing a corner kick, but he was a real handful overall—one of the many American players that Musovic turned down.
Megan Rapinoe, age 2 — Still a shadow of the person she used to be, with shaky touches and bad set pieces. She did a little better on defense but wasn’t very good at offense. When she missed her shot in the shootout, it changed a lot.
NR — Kelley O’Hara, Her shot in the shootout, hit the post. This made it possible for Sweden to win.
NR — Kristie Mewis Put her sentence to rest.