USWNT Suffers Earliest Elimination From World Cup By Matter Of Inches On Heartbreaking VAR Review

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The United States Women’s National Team simply could not finish throughout the match against Sweden on Sunday night in Melbourne, Australia. Despite multiple quality chances, the Americans struggled to capitalize and saw their earliest exit from the World Cup— ever.

USA players show dejection after the team’s defeat through the penalty shootout in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Round of 16 match between Sweden and USA at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on August 06, 2023 in Melbourne / Naarm, Australia.
(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The inability to finish is a theme that carried with them throughout the early portion of the World Cup, and the Round of 16 match was no different. They could not execute when it mattered most.

By the numbers, the American side lived up to their expectations through the first 90 minutes. That’s the issue. They did everything right but put the ball in the back of the net.

After two halves of scoreless soccer, the United States went to extra time for the fourth time in World Cup history. All three prior instances went to penalty kicks and Sunday was no different.

The American side went first.

  • US: Andi Sullivan — Make
  • Sweden: Fridolina Rolfö — Make
  • US: Lindsay Horan — Make
  • Sweden: Elin Rubensson — Make
  • US: Kristie Mewis (her first touch of the World Cup) — Make
  • Sweden: Nathalie Björn — Miss
  • US: Megan Rapinoe — Miss
  • Sweden: Sofia Jakobsson — SAVE!
  • US, with a chance to win: Sophia Smith — Miss
  • Sweden, needing to score to continue the match: Hanna Bennison — Make
  • US: Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher — Make
  • Sweden, needing to score to continue the match: Magdalena Eriksson — Make
  • US: Kelly O’Hara – Miss
  • Sweden, with a chance to win: Lina Hurtig —

This is where the heartbreak comes into the picture. Hurtig drilled one toward the left side and Naeher appeared to make the save.

She got her hand on the ball and knocked it into the air. As she laid on the ground, she reached up and knocked it away. It seemed as though the United States were still alive.

However, VAR said otherwise.

The ball crossed the line by a matter of inches.

Sweden won. The United States was eliminated prior to the Round of Eight for the first time ever.

There will be a lot of questions to come out of Australia. The Americans just couldn’t get the job done and lost the longest match in Women’s World Cup history.

It was all U.S. early.

The action got started early with Alex Morgan and Sophia Smith out in front in the second minute. There was an immediate offensive spark that was quickly snuffed out.

Andi Sullivan had a chance in the sixth, which ignited the crowd in Australia.

The attack kept coming and Trinity Rodman got looks in the 18th, 27th and 28th.

Even though Sweden was on the ropes, the score remained locked at nil-nil.

The United States’ best opportunity of the first half came in the 34th minute.

Lindsay Horan used her noggin to fire a laser off of a corner that hit off of the crossbar.

The header came so close to slipping under the bar and in.

Fans back in the States were stressed.

It was Horan again in the 53rd with the second-best opportunity of the evening. She ripped one toward the far post but the Swedish keeper made the save of the night.

Horan’s cannon leg was the United States’ closest attack of the second half.

The next best opportunity came after a slick nutmeg in the 54th. Nobody was home.

On the flip side, Sweden is known to be deadly with its set pieces. Alyssa Naeher was tested on a few occasions with seven shots and one solid shot on goal. Although the box score may not represent a dominating performance, she shut it down time and time again.

Through 92 minutes of play, the score was knotted at 0.

It was, by all accounts, the United States’ match to lose. They looked the best that they have thus far.

  • United States:
    • Shots — 14
    • Shots on target — 6
    • Possession — 59%
    • Pass Accuracy 79%
    • Offsides — 4
    • Corners — 5
  • Sweden:
    • Shots — 7
    • Shots on target — 1
    • Possession — 41%
    • Pass accuracy — 70%
    • Offsides — 0
    • Corners — 3

The USWNT went to extra time.

Megan Rapinoe subbed on in the 99th and replaced Alex Morgan. She was put right to work on the attack and she just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time off of a rebound.

Had her momentum been going the other way, Rapinoe may have been able to finish. Instead, the match remained scoreless through the first 15 minutes of extra time.

It was just another example of a strong offensive attack that went unused. The U.S. needed to finish and couldn’t get it done.

Smith came close again in the 107th. It too was unsuccessful.

And then Naeher did her thing again to keep it scoreless.

The match went to penalties from there.

Sweden’s keeper deserves her flowers. Zećira Mušović had 11 saves throughout the regulation and extra time periods. Had she not played out of her mind, the United States would have won prior to penalty kicks.

But she did. The Americans could not get it done and were defeated.

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.


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  1. Hardly paid attention but thrilled they lost. A majority of the team poorly represents the country, and several like Ms Rapinoe openly despises it and anyone who isn’t a Marxist. The team got what it deserves. Rapinoe is a miserable, hateful skank and I hope she live a miserable life 😆. Next time maybe US Soccer will find some hungry players who actually like their country,

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