USWNT and Cardinal eradicated from World Cup in nailbiter

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 putting the ball within the web past the attain of Swedish goalkeeper Zećira Mušović — who had already made a powerful 11 saves

However Stanford’s luck stopped there, and it proved expensive for america.

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 lengthen the U.S.’ event run. 

However Smith despatched her shot flying. 

Tossed a lifeline, the Swedes took full benefit, placing their subsequent two pictures 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 a detailed, doubtless 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 america. 

Though USWNT goalie Alyssa Naeher initially blocked Lina Hurtig’s shot, the rebound bounced upward. 

FIFA went to VAR evaluate and the world sat in suspense ready for the decision.

It got here: objective. 

The ball had crossed the objective line by millimeters

The Swedes have been in and america 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 objective however she didn’t even have to make a save within the shootout. 

America eradicated themselves. 

The end result was particularly tragic in a recreation that was arguably the USWNT’s finest efficiency of the event. The U.S. took 22 pictures and dominated possession. Their swap to a five-player midfield was a a lot wanted enchancment and america held the No. 3 ranked Swedes to just one shot heading in the right direction.

Sullivan, who performs for the Washington Spirit within the NWSL, led the UWSNT in tackles (15) and led the each her group and the WWC in interceptions (12).

“I’m gutted for this group,” tweeted Julie Foudy ’93 put up recreation. “Simply by no means may get the USA mojo going. Had a significantly better efficiency in the present day however simply not practically ok on so many ranges at this World Cup.”

Though Naomi Girma ’22 didn’t take a penalty, she was a vivid spot of the event for america. The USWNT solely allowed a single objective 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 america’ backline. 

“Kelley [O’Hara] at all times says that we simply lease these jerseys and it’s the job to go it all the way down to the youthful ones to proceed that of their DNA,” Ertz mentioned. “It’s been an absolute trip. I’ve realized a lot about myself as a participant, however even simply as an individual. This group clearly competes and performs soccer, but it surely does a lot extra, and I’m simply very grateful.”

Fellow Cardinal defender Alana Prepare dinner ’19 didn’t see the sphere this event. 

Different notable Stanford absences from Australia and New Zealand have been midfielder Catarina Macario ’21, who missed the WWC attributable to damage, and defender Tierna Davidson ‘20, who was left off of the roster (maybe attributable to a current damage) regardless of being part of the 2019 title-winning group. Ahead Christen Press ’10 additionally missed the 2023 event attributable to damage, and the 34-year-old will doubtless retire within the close to future. 

I might be stunned 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 group remaining in title rivalry that has beforehand gained a Ladies’s World Cup. The Japanese claimed the title in 2011 after outlasting america in a penalty shootout. Within the 2023 event, Japan has appeared just like the group to beat — profitable all 4 video games thus far, together with shutouts versus Spain and Norway.

Sweden will play Japan within the quarterfinals on Friday.