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USWNT Eliminated From 2023 World Cup After “Cruel” Penalty Shootout

This isn’t the goal the U.S. Women’s National Team had in mind.

After a tie game at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand, the two-time defending U.S. team lost to Sweden in penalty kicks August 6. Though goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher thought she saved the final penalty—scored by Sweden’s Lina Hurtig—the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) showed the ball had indeed inched over the line, officially bringing the team’s three-peat dream to an end.

“I’m just devastated,” Alex Morgan—who, alongside her teammates, helped score equal pay for the USWNT last year—said after the loss. “It feels like a bad dream.”

Indeed, they all hope to wake up to a different outcome. “We entertained, we created chances, we didn’t score and this is part of the game,” co-captain Lindsey Horan said, per CNN. “Penalties, to be frank, they suck, they’re too cruel. I’m proud of every player that stepped up to take a penalty today, score or miss, it’s courageous to go take a penalty.”

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