Sweden knock holders USA out of World Cup


Lina Hurtig (8) of Sweden heads the ball during the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup Round of 16 match between Sweden and United States at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium in Melbourne, Australia on August 6, 2023.

Reigning champions the USA are out of the Women’s World Cup after being stunned by Sweden on penalties on a night of incredible drama in Melbourne.

USA dominated the 120 minutes but were denied by an inspired goalkeeping performance from Zecira Musovic as the match finished goalless.

The drama only ratcheted up further in the shootout. Three USA players missed, including their footballing icon Megan Rapinoe on her last appearance on the world stage, before Sweden won in remarkable circumstances.

USA keeper Alyssa Naeher appeared to have saved Lina Hurtig’s effort at the second attempt, having pushed the initial effort up before clawing it out.

But after checking with the video assistant referee (VAR), referee Stephanie Frappart awarded the goal and sparked wild Sweden celebrations.

USA manager Vlatko Andonovski was not convinced the ball had crossed the line, despite technology confirming the goal.

“It’s a tough moment,” he said. “It’s a moment where it’s hard to go through, where you hope it didn’t cross the line. I see pictures and I still can’t see it now, but proves how cruel this game can be.”

Sweden go through to face Japan in the quarter-finals.

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