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Spritzler offers condolences to the US Women's Soccer Team.

Oh, sorry guys! First off, I was not rooting for Sweden (that's a lie) after you snubbed your countrymen (&women) by not pulling a Colin Kaepernick at the National Anthem.

Looks like you'll have the op to complain back in the US earlier than you expected...except that nobody will give a sheet.

United States Loses Knockout Match to Sweden on Penalty Kicks

Sweden advances on a kick that was initially saved by the U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher but then slipped over the goal line.

Aug. 6, 2023, 8:22 a.m.

Andrew DasReporting from Melbourne Rectangular Stadium

By the thinnest margin possible, Sweden eliminates the U.S. on penalties.

Players for the United States stand on the field in disbelief after their loss to Sweden.

The United States is out of the Women’s World Cup.Credit...Hamish Blair/Associated Press

Even the replay required a second look, so slim was the margin that separated the United States and Sweden on Sunday night. But there it was, clear as day: the ball a fraction of an inch over the goal line, and the United States fully, and unequivocally, out of the World Cup.

For more than two hours, the United States and Sweden had circled one another like prizefighters in a World Cup classic. They had pushed and shoved, taken shots and saved them. And then, after two halves and two extra periods couldn’t separate them, they went to penalties — and even then they were only a sliver apart.

Shot followed shot, save was matched by save, miss was followed by miss. And then Kelley O’Hara, the seventh American to step up to the spot, hit the right post, and Lina Hurtig, the seventh Swede, sent a low hard shot to the right of United States goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Naeher, who had been brilliant all night, saved that shot, too. But as the ball popped up in the air and began to descend, it fell toward the goal instead of away from it. Naeher, prone on the grass, reached back and swatted at it a second time. But it was too late: The ball was over the line.

The French referee, Stephanie Frappart, double checked. The goal was given. The Swedes sprinted off after Hurtig in the corner. The United States, the two-time reigning champion, the most decorated and successful team in World Cup history, was out.

The tears flowed immediately. From Sophia Smith, the young forward who had missed a chance to win it, to Megan Rapinoe, who missed, too. Others were in tears, too, too many to count.

“Unfortunately, soccer can be cruel sometimes,” United States Coach Vlatko Andonovski said. He may soon find out how cruel.

This finish will go down as the worst in the history of the U.S. team, a forgettable tournament in which the team won only once in four games, and scored in only two of them.

Andonovski will surely take much of the blame for that, but it will be a shared grief for a team that never really found its footing, did not find the goal nearly enough, and now will head home wondering what might have been.

The U.S. is out of the World Cup in a stunning, stunning conclusion. Lena Hurtig’s penalty was saved by Naeher, but it must have crossed the line because Stephanie Frappart, the French referee, paused, listening to her earpiece, and signaled for a goal.

A replay shows how close it was. Naeher popped the shot in the air and as it fell it crossed the goal line.

What an ending.

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