The Americans’ bid to win an unprecedented third consecutive title ended Sunday night on penalty kicks when Lina Hurtig converted and Sweden knocked the United States out of the World Cup 5-4 after a scoreless draw.
It is the earliest exit in tournament history for the United States, the two-time reigning champions and four-time winners.
“We didn’t put anything in the back of the net,” sobbed Julie Ertz after the loss. “The penalties were tough. It’s just emotional because it’s probably my last game ever. It’s just tough. It’s an emotional time. It obviously sucks. Penalties are the worst.”
U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher fruitlessly argued she had saved Hurtig’s attempt, but it was ruled over the line. The stadium played Abba’s “Dancing Queen” in the stadium as the Swedes celebrated.
The result ended the international career of United States star Megan Rapinoe, who said this would be her last World Cup. Rapinoe missed the penalty shot that would have won the game for the United States.
The United States was eliminated in the Round of 16 for the first time in team history. The American’s worst finish had been third place, three times.