This text is a part of a sequence 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 right 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 Girls’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 internet 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 pricey for the USA.
By the point Sophia Smith ’22 took the fifth penalty, Sweden had missed back-to-back pictures and the USWNT was up within the penalty depend. A well-placed strike would win the sport and prolong the U.S.’ event run.
However Smith despatched her shot flying.
Tossed a lifeline, the Swedes took full benefit, placing their subsequent two pictures at the back of the online. So all of it got here right 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 a detailed, seemingly with this very second in thoughts, however O’Hara despatched her ball ricocheting off the put up. With the shot benefit, a profitable Swedish penalty would eradicate the USA.
Though USWNT goalie Alyssa Naeher initially blocked Lina Hurtig’s shot, the rebound bounced upward.
FIFA went to VAR assessment 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 Girls’s World Cup.
Sweden’s Mušović was sensible for 120 minutes in aim however she didn’t even must make a save within the shootout.
The US eradicated themselves.
The result was particularly tragic in a sport that was arguably the USWNT’s finest efficiency of the event. The U.S. took 22 pictures 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 course.
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 put up sport. “Simply by no means might get the USA mojo going. Had a significantly better efficiency at this time however simply not practically adequate on so many ranges at this World Cup.”
Though Naomi Girma ’22 didn’t take a penalty, she was a vibrant spot of the event 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 cross it right down to the youthful ones to proceed that of their DNA,” Ertz mentioned. “It’s been an absolute experience. I’ve discovered a lot about myself as a participant, however even simply as an individual. This crew clearly competes and performs soccer, nevertheless it does a lot extra, and I’m simply very grateful.”
Fellow Cardinal defender Alana Cook dinner ’19 didn’t see the sector this event.
Different notable Stanford absences from Australia and New Zealand have been midfielder Catarina Macario ’21, who missed the WWC as a result of damage, and defender Tierna Davidson ‘20, who was left off of the roster (maybe as a result of a latest damage) regardless of being part of the 2019 title-winning crew. Ahead Christen Press ’10 additionally missed the 2023 event as a result of damage, and the 34-year-old will seemingly retire within the close to future.
I’d 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 techniques are merely not adequate 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 competition that has beforehand gained a Girls’s World Cup. The Japanese claimed the title in 2011 after outlasting the USA in a penalty shootout. Within the 2023 event, 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.