This text is a part of a collection on the 2023 World Cup. Learn protection of earlier video games right here.
After a scoreless additional time interval versus Sweden, all of it got here all the way down to a penalty shootout.
Three Cardinal stepped up for the U.S. however just one discovered the again of the online. That proved to be the distinction between victory and the worst ever Ladies’s World Cup (WWC) end for the back-to-back champions.
Midfielder Andi Sullivan ’18 was the primary to the spot, decisively inserting the ball within the web past the attain of Swedish goalkeeper Zećira Mušović — who had already made a formidable 11 saves.
However Stanford’s luck stopped there, and it proved expensive for the USA.
By the point Sophia Smith ’22 took the fifth penalty, Sweden had missed back-to-back photographs and the USWNT was up within the penalty rely. A well-placed strike would win the sport and lengthen the U.S.’ match run.
However Smith despatched her shot flying.
Tossed a lifeline, the Swedes took full benefit, placing their subsequent two photographs behind the online. So all of it got here all the way down to Kelley O’Hara ’10 with profitable penalties tied 4-4. The defender was subbed in mere minutes prior as additional time got here to an in depth, possible with this very second in thoughts, however O’Hara despatched her ball ricocheting off the publish. With the shot benefit, a profitable Swedish penalty would get rid of the USA.
Though USWNT goalie Alyssa Naeher initially blocked Lina Hurtig’s shot, the rebound bounced upward.
FIFA went to VAR evaluation and the world sat in suspense ready for the decision.
It got here: aim.
The ball had crossed the aim line by millimeters.
The Swedes have been in and the USA was despatched packing.
The loss marks the primary time in federation historical past that the U.S. completed decrease than third in a Ladies’s World Cup.
Sweden’s Mušović was good for 120 minutes in aim however she didn’t even have to make a save within the shootout.
The US eradicated themselves.
The result was particularly tragic in a recreation that was arguably the USWNT’s greatest efficiency of the match. The U.S. took 22 photographs and dominated possession. Their change to a five-player midfield was a a lot wanted enchancment and the USA held the No. 3 ranked Swedes to just one shot on the right track.
Sullivan, who performs for the Washington Spirit within the NWSL, led the UWSNT in tackles (15) and led the each her crew and the WWC in interceptions (12).
“I’m gutted for this group,” tweeted Julie Foudy ’93 publish recreation. “Simply by no means may get the USA mojo going. Had a a lot better efficiency as we speak however simply not almost ok on so many ranges at this World Cup.”
Though Naomi Girma ’22 didn’t take a penalty, she was a brilliant spot of the match for the USA. The USWNT solely allowed a single aim throughout 4 video games (from the Netherlands) and the previous Cardinal defender performed all 390 minutes of regulation. With the announcement of defender/midfielder Julie Ertz’s retirement from worldwide soccer following Sunday’s loss, the U.S. will lean on the 23-year-old Girma increasingly more within the coming years to carry down the USA’ backline.
“Kelley [O’Hara] all the time says that we simply hire these jerseys and it’s the job to move it all the way down to the youthful ones to proceed that of their DNA,” Ertz stated. “It’s been an absolute trip. I’ve discovered a lot about myself as a participant, however even simply as an individual. This crew clearly competes and performs soccer, but it surely does a lot extra, and I’m simply very grateful.”
Fellow Cardinal defender Alana Cook dinner ’19 didn’t see the sphere this match.
Different notable Stanford absences from Australia and New Zealand have been midfielder Catarina Macario ’21, who missed the WWC as a consequence of harm, and defender Tierna Davidson ‘20, who was left off of the roster (maybe as a consequence of a latest harm) regardless of being part of the 2019 title-winning crew. Ahead Christen Press ’10 additionally missed the 2023 match as a consequence of harm, and the 34-year-old will possible retire within the close to future.
I might be shocked if Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski is retained after this unprecedented elimination. Andonovski led the USWNT in two main tournaments, the 2020 Olympics and 2023 WWC, and solely gained 4 of 10 video games throughout these two competitions. His ways are merely not ok to win main titles.
With the U.S. out, Germany eradicated within the group stage and Norway defeated on Saturday, Japan is the one crew remaining in title rivalry that has beforehand gained a Ladies’s World Cup. The Japanese claimed the title in 2011 after outlasting the USA in a penalty shootout. Within the 2023 match, Japan has appeared just like the crew to beat — profitable all 4 video games to date, together with shutouts versus Spain and Norway.
Sweden will play Japan within the quarterfinals on Friday.