'Fraction of a centimeter': Team USA crashes out of World Cup as Sweden wins on penaltiestext_fields
Melbourne: After the teams were locked at 0-0 at the end of extra time, Sweden defeated the USA 5-4 on penalties to eliminate the two-time reigning champions from the Women's World Cup.
Lina Hurtig scored the winning penalty kick in a crazy shootout on Sunday, but the outcome needed to be verified by VAR because US goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher parried the ball on the line, but the ball crossed the line by a fraction of a centimetre, Al Jazeera reported.
The four-time champions' Sophia Smith missed a chance to take the victory after launching the ball over the bar.
Zecira Musovic of Sweden, who made 11 saves before the shootout to keep the Scandinavians in the game, was hailed as the game's hero.
The Swedes, who were frequently denied possession, didn't have a shot on goal until Sofia Jakobsson, a substitute, moved into the box and shot straight at goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher in the 85th minute.
In the ninth minute of extra time, the legendary Megan Rapinoe came off the bench to replace striker Alex Morgan, but the Americans were unable to come away with the victory.
Rapinoe, a notoriously dead-eye penalty shooter for the US, missed the fourth attempt for the team after Nathalie Bjorn of Sweden had also missed.
Rebecka Blomqvist's fourth shot for the Swedes was stopped by Naeher, but Smith's missed attempt kept the Scandinavians in the game.
After Naeher and Magdalena Eriksson successfully converted their penalty kicks, Kelley Ohara's attempt hit the right post, which gave Hurtig the opportunity to step up and eliminate the tournament's defending winners.
The US, which has won the last two World Cups in France and Canada, suffered their earliest elimination after consistently reaching the semifinals or higher in the previous eight tournaments.
The Americans’ worst finish had been third place, three times.
Sweden will take on an impressive Japan in the quarter-finals on Friday.