MELBOURNE, Aug 6: Reigning champions the USA are out of the Women’s World Cup after being beaten by Sweden on penalties.

USA, who won the last two tournaments, dominated the 120 minutes but were denied by an inspired goalkeeping performance from Zecira Musovic.

In the shootout, Lina Hurtig scored the deciding penalty as USA keeper Alyssa Naeher narrowly failed to stop the ball from crossing the line. Sweden will go through to face Japan in the quarter-finals.

They were indebted to Musovic, who made 11 saves in a game where the USA looked more like the team which won the World Cup in 2015 and 2019 than the one which snuck through the group stage.

But they could not score and in the shootout, Megan Rapinoe, Sophia Smith and Kelley O’Hara all missed – Rapinoe with what is her final action at a World Cup, as she has announced she will retire at the end of the year.

The final moment of drama came as Naeher could only push Hurtig’s spot kick up and over herself before pushing it away. After checking with the video assistant, referee Stephanie Frappart awarded the goal – and sparked wild Sweden celebrations. It condemns the USA for their worst performance at a Women’s World Cup. They had never previously failed to make it to the semi-finals.

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