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2016 Rio Olympics

USWNT fails to make Olympic semifinals for first time ever

The USWNT is out of a major tournament at the quarterfinal stage for the first time ever. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)
The USWNT is out of a major tournament at the quarterfinal stage for the first time ever. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

The USWNT is out of a major tournament at the quarterfinal stage for the first time ever. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

The United States women’s national team suffered its earliest-ever exit from a major tournament on Friday, losing to Sweden in the quarterfinals in a penalty kick shootout.

The two teams ended 1-1 after regulation and through extra time, forcing a shootout. There, U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo and Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl made a save each, and Christen Press missed the United States’ fifth and final shot as Sweden prevailed 4-3.

Stina Blackstenius came off the bench in the 18th minute and scored on a clinical counterattack to give Sweden the lead in the 61st minute, beating Solo at the far post.

Alex Morgan equalized for the Americans in the 77th minute with a close-range effort after a defensive error from Sweden, forcing extra time. There, the U.S. and Sweden each had goals called back in the final minutes, one by Carli Lloyd and one by Lotta Schelin.

Morgan led off the shootout and had her PK saved by Lindahl. Solo saved Linda Sembrant’s effort on Sweden’s third PK.

The Americans entered these Olympic Games as the three-time defending gold medalists and reigning World Cup champions. They had never finished worse than second at an Olympics since the Games welcomed women’s soccer in 1996, winning the gold medal four times and settling for silver in 2000. The U.S. has finished third or better at all seven World Cups, winning three of them.

Friday was the first time an Olympic women’s soccer match ever went to penalty kicks.

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