Sweden shocked the USA 5-4 in a sudden-death penalty shootout Sunday to surge right into a Ladies’s World Cup quarter-final in opposition to Japan and consign the defending champions to their earliest-ever exit. The title-holders dominated the opening 90 minutes however a breakthrough proved elusive with Swedish goalkeeper Zecira Musovic making some startling saves to maintain her aspect alive. With the impasse remaining after extra-time it went to penalties in Melbourne — and the strain went up one other notch. Sweden’s Nathalie Bjorn was the primary to overlook, skying excessive, just for Megan Rapinoe to do the identical. Rebecka Blomqvist’s effort was saved, once more placing the USA within the driving seat, just for Sophia Smith to blast vast.
When Kelley O’Hara hit the submit, it was all all the way down to Sweden’s Lina Hurtig, who made certain — however solely after VAR dominated her kick had crossed the road.
The dramatic conclusion leaves the event with out the 2 top-ranked sides after Germany’s group-stage departure, with the Swedes now thought of among the many chief frontrunners because the world quantity three.
Peter Gerhardsson’s aspect, who’re striving to higher their third-place end in 2019, subsequent face the 2011 champions Japan.
But it surely was a bitter blow for the USA and an inglorious finish for Rapinoe, the Golden Boot winner on the 2019 event. She’s going to retire on the finish of the season.
Expectations had been excessive coming into the event for the four-time champions, who had made no less than the semi-finals at each World Cup.
However they by no means appeared as much as the duty within the group stage, with only one win, in opposition to Vietnam.