World Cup 2023 - USA falter as Sweden sets up Quarter Final date with Japan - Match Day 17
World number one and reigning champions, the United States were sensationally knocked out following a dramatic penalty shootout against Sweden in Melbourne on Match day 17.
Despite dominating regular time, the USA struggled to break down a determined Sweden defence, who have only conceded one goal all tournament. The USA recorded an incredible 22 shots to 9 as Swedish goalkeeper Zećira Mušovic playing the match of her life to repel attack after attack. The teams could not be split after full-time as extra time and penalty kicks ensued. Seemingly on their way to a shoot-out win, the tables turned when misses by Sophia Smith and Megan Rapinoe put Sweden back in the box seat.
It all came down to a sudden death kick by Sweden's Lina Hurtig who's effort looked to be initially saved by USA keeper Alyssa Naeher before the ball popped up and over the line. Following a period of uncertainty it was confirmed by VAR that the ball had in fact crossed the line as Swedish celebrations began.
For Sweden it would set up a Quarter Final date with Japan while for the United States it would mean their earliest exit since the formation of the Women's World Cup in 1991. Earlier in the day, Netherlands easily for South Africa 2-nil in their Round of 16 clash in Sydney. An early goal to Jill Roord in the first ten minutes got the Dutch off to the perfect start. South Africa had their chances but ultimately lacked the finish product.
Lineth Beerensteyn sealed the deal with a 68th minute strike to send the Netherlands into an all-European Quarter Final with Spain. Across the weekend, Japan firmed themselves as one of the teams to beat as they sent Norway packing while Spain made light work of Switzerland. Two more massive Round of 16 clashes on Match Day 18 as England face Nigeria in Brisbane while Australia's Matildas host Denmark at a sold out Stadium Australia. Kick off for that one is 18:30 Perth time.