Team USA has reigned supreme in women’s Olympic soccer since Athens in 2004, but there will be a new champion this year in Rio after Sweden knocked out the defending champion on penalties at the quarterfinal stage in Brasilia Friday.
US women’s soccer team dethroned by Sweden
Sweden took the lead through Stina Blackstenius just after the hour mark but Tina Morgan made it 1-1 with 13 minutes of regulation time remaining
The sides could not be split after 30 minutes of extra time, and penalty misses from Morgan and substitute Christen Press handed the initiative to the Swedes.
Lisa Dahlkvist then faced down the pressure to convert the winning spot kick for Sweden, which is led by former US coach Pia Sundhage.
Sweden has never won an Olympic medal in women’s football before, although it did lose the bronze medal playoff match to Germany in 2004.
The result also means the USWMNT has failed to reach the gold medal match for the first time since women’s soccer was introduced at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.
“Heartbroken for the team (and) staff, for our fans, for my family” tweeted Morgan after the match. “Today’s loss will make winning that much sweeter. Learn, grow, and never forget.”