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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

FIFA Women’s World Cup: Sweden Beats USA 3-2 In Penalty Decider

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USA, the current champions, have crashed out of the World Cup on penalties in front of more than 27,000 fans in Melbourne. Lina Hurtig’s spot-kick sent Sweden to the quarter-finals, helped significantly by the brilliance of Zecira Musovic between the sticks.

It is the first time in the tournament’s history that USA have been eliminated at this early a stage.

It was not the ending Megan Rapinoe had planned.

She went so far as to call it “dark comedy” and a “sick joke”, such was her dismay.

After 17 years of putting herself on the line for the Stars and Stripes, the two-time Women’s World Cup winner was in tears as she departed the global stage for the final time.

On Rapinoe’s 202nd appearance for the USA, the defending world champions dramatically lost 5-4 on penalties to Sweden after a last-16 goalless draw in Melbourne.

Rapinoe, 38, ranks among the most successful players of her generation and announced before the tournament she would be retiring at the end of the season.

With the USA leading 3-2 on penalties on a tension-filled night, substitute Rapinoe missed her spot-kick before Sophia Smith and Kelley O’Hara also failed to score in the shootout.

When Lina Hurtig converted the decisive penalty by the finest of margins, eliminating the four-time world champions, Rapinoe was overcome with emotion.

The Olympic gold medal winner hoisted up her shirt in an attempt to hide her face.

Ten minutes after the game, the television cameras picked out Rapinoe being consoled by team-mate Lynn Williams after the 2019 Ballon d’Or winner’s dream of ending her USA career on a high were dashed.

“This is like a sick joke,” said Rapinoe. “For me personally, I’m just like, this is dark comedy. I missed a penalty.”

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