August 12, 2016
A DEVASTATING ELIMINATION
Three-time defending champion U.S. women lose to Sweden in penalties, ousted from Olympic quarterfinals
BRASILIA, Brazil -- For the first time in six Olympic appearances, the three-time defending Olympic champion United States women have failed to reach the semifinals.
|Alex Morgan scored a goal in regulation, but had her penalty kick saved in the shootout.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The Americans were eliminated by Sweden on penalty kicks, 4-3, in the Olympic women's soccer quarterfinals at Mane Garrincha Stadium Friday afternoon.
Sweden will meet the victor of the Brazil-Australia quarterfinal, played later in the afternoon, at Maracana Stadium Tuesday afternoon.
The reigning world champions had never failed to reach the semifinals of the five previous Olympic soccer tournaments and seven Women’s World Cups. The USA won four gold medals and a silver in the five previous competitions.
Alex Morgan had her PK attempt saved by goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl and Christen Press sliced her shot wide left. Lindsey Horan, Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian converted their chances for the Americans.
Lisa Dahlkvist put home the winning penalty for the Swedes.
Lotta Schelin, Kosovare Asllani and Caroline Seger converted their opportunities for Sweden as USA goalkeeper Hope Solo saved Linda Sembrant's try.
The Swedes drew first blood in the 61st minute as Stina Blackstenius latched onto a long pass and scored off a counterattack. With center back Julie Johnston bearing down on her, Blackstenius slipped the ball into the lower left corner for her second international goal for a stunning 1-0 lead.
Undaunted, the USA mounted an attack that was more like a siege of the Swedish goal. Again and again the Americans sent shots, crosses and corner kicks into the penalty area.
Finally, in the 77th minute the pressure paid off. A long ball from the box was sent into the box. Crystal Dunn headed the ball, which deflected of defender Jessica Samuelsson as Morgan scored off a sliding shot for her fifth Olympic goal and a 1-1 deadlock.
In the final minutes of the second extratime, the teams traded nullified goals.
First, Lloyd's header from the right side was called back for fouling a Swedish defender in the 115th minute.
Less than a minute later, Schelin placed her shot past Solo negated for being offside, although TV replays showed her to be onside.
The Americans came out on fire, pressuring the Swedes as they had nothing to show for their efforts going into the locker room scoreless at halftime.
Four minutes into the match Morgan Brian tested Hedvig Lindahl as the goalkeeper parried the ball over the crossbar for a corner kick.
Lloyd came close in the 19th minute, shanking a Tobin Heath corner kick wide right.
As the match settled down, Sweden was content to sit back and handle the USA pressure, hoping to score off a counterattack or a set piece.
Solo, off a shaky performance in the 2-2 tie with Colombia in the Group G finale, was solid in the few times Sweden tried to score. Her most impressive moment might have been when she came out of the net to punch away a left-wing cross away from midfielder Caroline Seger late in the opening half.
Within a two-minute period early in the second half, Lloyd attempted free kicks from either side of the box, but could not convert. First after a Sweden handball on the left-hand side, she tapped the ball to Heath, who returned a pass to the midfielder. Lloyd's resulting attempt went wide right in the 50th minute.
Two minutes later after Heath was fouled, Lloyd ripped a 22-yard shot over the crossbar.