Reigning World Cup Champions USA knocked out after penalties loss

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Reigning World Cup Champions USA knocked out after penalties loss

The dreams of the USA being the first nation to win three successive World Cups is over.

This as the reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup champions were knocked out of the Women’s World Cup after Sweden beat them on penalties following a nil-nil finish.

USA dominated the game but an inspired performance by Sweden’s goalkeeper, Zecira Musovic who made 11 saves, ensured the match finished goalless.

The shootout proved to be the reigning champions’ downfall with three USA players missing their penalty.

Sweden then earned a remarkable and memorable victory when USA’s keeper Alyssa Naeher appeared to have made a fantastic save pushing Sweden’s Lina Hurtig’s shot up into the crossbar before clawing it out.

However, after checking with the video assistant referee (VAR), referee Stephanie Frappart awarded the goal and sparked wild Sweden celebrations.

The loss is USA’s worst performance at the tournament having made it to at least the semi-finals in every single previous FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The loss while unexpected in this game, is symptomatic of the team’s overall performance so far in the tournament which saw them finish second in Group E after failing to win two first-stage matches for the first time in this competition.

They have been subjected to fierce criticism back home with former players and football commentators describing their performances as flat and disjointed.

The noise surrounding the team is unlikely to quiet down anytime soon and US football is likely to hold a serious inquiry into the team’s performance at this tournament.