Penalty shootout drama sends Sweden through to World Cup quarter-final in cruel ending for USA

Defending champions the United States have crashed out of the Women’s World Cup after losing to Sweden 5-4 on penalties in the round of 16 in Melbourne on Sunday night.

Goalkeeper Zecira Musovic was the hero for Sweden, keeping scores deadlocked at 0-0 despite her side being totally outplayed by the tournament favourite Americans for two hours.

Lina Hurtig scored the deciding spot kick in dramatic circumstances to settle a gripping shootout, which had misses from both sides.

Hurtig’s low shot floated upwards after being blocked by Alyssa Naeher, who then swatted the ball away, and was initially ruled not to have crossed the line.

But that decision was overruled on review, sparking wild scenes among the Swedish players and fans at a packed AAMI Park on Sunday night.

It is the first time the US had been beaten before the semi-final stage, while Sweden advances to face Japan in a quarter-final in Auckland on Friday.

Zecira Musovic was the hero for Sweden with an array of saves repelling USA on Sunday night. Photo: Getty

Musovic did not make a save in the shootout but three American misses, including one by legend Megan Rapinoe and a crucial shot off the post by Kelley O’Hara before Hurtig’s winner, led to Sweden’s triumph.

In a clash of two genuine heavyweights, the top-ranked Americans created the bulk of the chances against world No.3 Sweden, which managed just one shot on target.

The energetic Trinity Rodman twice had fierce shots beaten away by Musovic and won the corner that led to Horan’s strong header crashing against the crossbar with Musovic beaten.

Dangerous at set pieces, Sweden created several nervous moments for the US with balls into the area but couldn’t manage a first-half shot on target.

Horan had American fans off their seats in the second half with a stinging right-foot shot that looked destined for the net.

It was pushed wide by a superb reflex save from Musovic, who was blindsided and only saw it late.

Lynn Williams replaced Rodman after 65 minutes and caused headaches for Sweden with her pace down the right flank.

Sweden didn’t manage a shot on target until the 85th minute when Sofia Jakobsson fired directly at Naeher.

Musovic saved Alex Morgan’s close-range header from a Williams cross in the 89th minute.

Morgan was denied again in extra time before making way for Rapinoe and Williams had her low shot parried.


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