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The USA Women's Soccer Team fell in a shocking 4-3 loss to Sweden in penalty shots on Friday morning and were eliminated from the Olympic tournament. The heavily favored Americans lost to the Swedes in a nail-biting finish where they could not connect on their penalty shots. Despite their valiant efforts, they are now out of the running for the gold. This is the first time the United States have ever not made it to the semifinals in a major world competition. 

The first half of the game was relatively slow with every scoring opportunity overturned by offsides calls, a common theme throughout the game. Carli Lloyd had multiple sights of scoring, many of which were taken away from her by offsides calls.

It was not until the second half that the Swedes were able to be the first on the board. One hour into the game, Stina Blackstenius finished for Sweden with a breakaway goal, giving them a 1-0 lead. 

The United States needed to act fast, and they did just that with a close-range goal from Alex Morgan with under 15 minutes left in the game. Morgan's fifth goal of the Olympics tied the game at one.

In extra time, it was a similar theme of offsides calls. Both teams had scoring opportunities called off by players being barely offsides. Ultimately, no goals were scored. and the game headed to penalty shots. 

Penalty shots began with a bumpy start for the United States when Alex Morgan, a player who the team has a lot of confidence in, failed to convert on the opening shot. It was back and fourth for the next few shots until the American goalie Hope Solo came up big with a stop to tie it up. It all came down to the fifth and finals shots for both teams. Christen Press sent her shot flying over the net. It then came down to the final shot by Sweden's Lisa Dahlkvist who sent the ball past a frozen Solo who guessed wrong and into the right side of the net. Her shot ended the game with a win for Sweden. 

Not only was the United States heavily favored, but this is the first time they will not qualify for the semifinals in a major world tournament. Alex Morgan said it best when she told the media penalty shots can go either way. The United States led in shots, shots on goal, and time of possession but still could not get the win. 

As one can imagine, the Americans were crushed, and their frustrated showed. Hope Solo's frustration was especially evident when she called the Swedish team cowardly

"We played a bunch of cowards," Solo said. "The better team did not win."

What Solo said was her frustration lashing out. Although the United States may have been the better team, criticizing the Swedish method of play does not justify the loss anymore. It was clearly a difficult loss for the United States, but from here, all they can do is move forward. The Swedes simply outplayed them in the end and got the victory because of it. Next time, they just have to do better. 

Olympics: Football-Women's Team-Quarterfinal -USA vs SWE

Aug 12, 2016; Brasilia, Brazil; United States goalkeeper Hope Solo (1) allows a goal during penalty kicks against Sweden during the women's football quarterfinals in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports


Published by Lia Assimakopoulos