- The United States of America is out of the race for three titles at the 2023 Women's World Cup.
- Instead, Sweden will book its ticket to the quarter-finals in Melbourne, where Japan awaits next Friday.
- “Tre Kronor” knocked out the 4-time world champion in the round of 16 with maximum drama in the penalty shootout at the 14th attempt.
- After 90 and 120 minutes, there were no goals to celebrate, which is due, on the one hand, to the distinguished Swedish goalkeeper, and on the other hand, to the lack of penetration by the United States.
The penalty shootout alone had many twists and turns in the thrilling final at Melbourne's rectangular stadium. Despite Megan Rapinoe's missed shot, which would end her career after the ninth final round, the USA had match point to reach the quarterfinals shortly thereafter. But Sophia Smith also made a mistake, which meant that the Swedes were able to return to the race despite the two failed attempts of Natalie Bjorn and Rebecca Blomqvist, which failed due to American goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Hannah Bennison soon kept hope alive.
After goalkeeper Neher scored the goal herself, Magdalena Eriksson equalized again. Kelly O'Hara made the crucial failed attempt at the end. Match winner Lena Hurtig saved from a penalty kick that was converted to the limit to make the final score 5:4 nP. Naeher still had the ball in his hand, but the full range of it slid just behind the line.
Sweden will flip again after 2021
After this stunning victory, the emotional worlds could not have been more different. The Scandinavians cheered in jubilation – as the Olympic silver medalists defeated the United States for the second time in a row following a 3-0 win in the group stage at the 2021 Summer Games in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, the two-time world champions, who never wanted to make it Down Under, have to pack their bags. From the dream of a hat-trick title and the fifth world championship title in history. Rapinoe, who only intervened in the 99th minute, missed the brilliant final point.
Mosovic continues to interfere
There was a really tough moment for the Americans in the 85th minute, when Sofia Jacobsson had the best and only chance to score for Trey Kronauer with a left foot. In the 89th minute the pendulum could have swung to the other side: Alex Morgan's header could not go past the in-form goalkeeper Zisera Mosovic.
Even in the first half, the presumed favorites were somewhat sloppy with their chances. In a battle of attrition, in which both teams largely neutralized each other, we were able to create a slight increase in chances thanks to good pressing.
A great danger appeared in the 34th minute from the first American corner. Lindsay Horan headed a precise cross from close range onto the crossbar. As we reached the second half, the pressure from the defending champions steadily increased. It took a wonderful effort from Mosovic in the 53rd minute to prevent the difference. When Horan hit a half-volley – a constant source of trouble – the 27-year-old was down the Swedish goal in the blink of an eye.
It seemed only a matter of time before the United States could defeat the Scandinavian countries. But the text called for a different and surprising ending for her. And also because the “magician” Musović made 9 saves in 120 minutes and a shooting ratio of 11:1 was not enough for the USA.
And this is how it continues
The Swedes are now aiming to reach the fourth semi-final in a major event. The next obstacle in their way is the Japanese national team. The match will take place in Auckland next Friday at 9:30am (CET) and can be watched live on SRF.
“Creator. Troublemaker. Reader. Tv nerd. Proud beer advocate. Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Introvert. Certified zombie practitioner. Thinker.”