MO State HS Sports
Women's World Cup 2023
Women's World Cup 2023 (Photo: Zahid Alam Art,

USWNT Bows Out Of World Cup In Worst Finish Ever

By: Grant Salsman

The USWNT were eliminated from the World Cup after falling 5-4 on penalties to Sweden.

It was 0-0 after 120 minutes in a game which the U.S. dominated. The U.S. missed three penalties, none of them being on target. The misses were by young star Sophia Smith, veteran Kelly O’Hara, and USWNT legend, Megan Rapinoe.

Rapinoe’s last kick in a U.S. shirt will be a missed penalty, but her legacy goes far beyond that. She led the U.S. to two World Cups, winning a golden boot, golden ball, and Ballon d’Or in the process.

Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski changed his tactics and formation which resulted in the best U.S. performance of the tournament. The U.S. outshot Sweden 22-9 with 11 of those being on target to Sweden’s one. There was no moment in the game where the Swedes really threatened to score and it seemed like it was either going to be a U.S. goal or penalties to decide the game.

The hero of the game was Sweden’s goalie, Zecira Musovic, who saved 11 shots from the U.S. and was commanding in net the entire game. Her heroics led Sweden to the quarterfinals, but possibly her best save of the bunch came in the 53rd minute when a cross across the box fell to Lindsey Horan who fired a shot on goal and somehow Musovic made a diving stop.

Despite playing their best game of the tournament, it was the same old story for the U.S.: dominate the game but not have the finishing prowess to win.

The U.S. has a lot of changes to be made if they want to compete for the Gold medal at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The biggest question will be what happens to Vlatko? He has been at the helm of two major tournament disappointments, a third place finish at the 202o Tokyo Olympics and a round of 16 exit at this World Cup. If he is to go, the replacement needs to be somebody experienced, somebody who can lead this crop of young youth talent to glory.

The U.S. is still the best team in the world when they are healthy and playing well. Unfortunately for this World Cup it was not meant to be. Their next World Cup action will be in 2027 and could be held on home soil as the United States and Mexico made a joint bid to host.

As for Sweden, they will look to continue to ride the coattails of the most in-form goalie in the tournament and find a way to stifle a red hot Japanese offense on Friday.