Home Sports Defending Champions No More: U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Eliminated from World Cup by Sweden in Penalties!

Defending Champions No More: U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Eliminated from World Cup by Sweden in Penalties!

by Editorial Desk
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In a thrilling World Cup knockout match, the United States faced off against Sweden, setting the stage for a showdown between the reigning champions and a formidable team on an impressive winning streak.

The game was neck-and-neck, with both teams struggling to find the back of the net during the regulation play. Despite the U.S. squad’s close calls, the match headed into penalty kicks after 120 intense minutes. The United States has been no stranger to this situation, as it marked their fourth-ever World Cup game to enter extra time, with all three previous instances ultimately leading to penalties.

During the first half, the U.S. team dominated possession and had a couple of shots on goal, leaving Sweden with zero. Surprisingly, the score remained tied at nil-nil by the midway point. However, as the second half unfolded, Sweden applied more pressure, evening out the possession and coming close to finding success with a few set pieces. Still, they struggled to finish. Meanwhile, the U.S. squad maintained their determination and continued to create more chances on goal than their rivals, managing two more shots on target. It wasn’t until the 85th minute that Sweden had their first shot on goal.

In a crucial moment of the game, star U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe entered the field in the eighth minute of extra time, hoping to break the deadlock. Being part of previous World Cup-winning squads, this tournament was anticipated to be her last as a player, adding an extra layer of significance to the match.

The U.S. team, coming into the tournament as favorites, had a strong history, having won the last two World Cups held in 2019 and 2015, as well as being champions in 1999 and 1991. However, their performance in the group stage was not as dominant as expected. While they secured a convincing 3-0 victory against Vietnam, their matches against the Netherlands and Portugal both ended in draws. They finished the group stage with five points, trailing the Netherlands by two, marking the first time in Women’s World Cup history that the U.S. earned fewer than six points during this stage.

On the other hand, Sweden, ranked third in the tournament, had a solid run in the group stage, topping their group with nine points after impressive victories against Argentina, Italy, and South Africa. Only two other teams, England and Japan, managed to leave the group round undefeated.

The United States and Sweden have a long-standing history of facing each other in Women’s World Cup matches since 2003, making this clash even more intense.

Lindsey Horan, the U.S. captain, acknowledged the significance of the encounter, stating, “It wouldn’t be a major tournament if we weren’t facing Sweden.” Horan and Sophia Smith emerged as the leading scorers for the USWNT, with each netting two goals in the group stage. No other player managed to score during that phase. Unfortunately, Rose Lavelle had to sit out the match due to a yellow card accumulation suspension.

The Round of 16 match was held at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, with a local time start of 7 p.m. or 5 a.m. ET for fans back in the United States.

With the thrilling match ending in penalties, the United States emerged victorious and is now set to face Japan in the quarterfinals. The tension and excitement of this World Cup journey continue, and fans around the world eagerly await the next chapter in this thrilling competition.

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