Sweden stunned the United States 5-4 in a sudden-death penalty shootout Sunday to surge into a Women’s World Cup quarter-final against Japan and consign the defending champions to their earliest-ever exit.
The title-holders dominated the opening 90 minutes but a breakthrough proved elusive with Swedish goalkeeper Zecira Musovic making some startling saves to keep her side alive.
With the deadlock remaining after extra-time, it went to penalties in Melbourne — and the tension went up another notch.
Rebecka Blomqvist’s effort was saved, again putting the USA in the driving seat, only for Sophia Smith to blast wide.
When Kelley O’Hara hit the post, it was all down to Sweden’s Lina Hurtig, who made sure — but only after VAR ruled her kick had crossed the line.
The dramatic conclusion leaves the tournament without the two top-ranked sides after Germany’s group-stage departure, with the Swedes now considered among the chief frontrunners as the world number three.
Peter Gerhardsson’s side, who are striving to better their third-place finish in 2019, next face the 2011 champions Japan.
But it was a bitter blow for the USA and an inglorious end for Rapinoe, the Golden Boot winner at the 2019 tournament. She will retire at the end of the season.
Expectations were high coming into the tournament for the four-time champions, who had made at least the semi-finals at every World Cup.
But they never looked up to the task in the group stage, with just one win, against Vietnam.
This devastating early exit will be seen as a major underachievement.
Spurs hold Arsenal in thrilling North London derby
Arsenal and Tottenham each took home a share of the spoils after a thrilling 2-2 draw in the North London Derby on Sunday.
Son Heung-min twice pulled the visitors back from a goal down after Bukayo Saka had forced an own goal from Cristian Romero before scoring from the penalty spot himself. Son had already given Arsenal an early warning when he put the ball in the net after just five minutes, though he was miles offside and it was ruled out.
Spurs stopper Guglielmo Vicario was the busier of the two keepers in the first half and made terrific saves to deny Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah. But he could do little about the opener when Bukayo Saka’s deflected shot flew in off Cristian Romero’s knee.
Arsenal pressed high and forced Tottenham into numerous errors – one of which Jesus should have capitalised on when he blazed over after dispossessing James Maddison. Yet Spurs were always a threat on the counter-attack and pulled themselves level before half-time when Maddison squirmed away from Saka too easily before cutting back for Son to score off the post.
Arsenal didn’t take long to get back in front, as Ben White’s shot spun off Maddison’s boot onto the raised arm of Romero shortly after the break. Referee Robert Jones missed it but VAR had little choice but to overturn it and Saka clipped his penalty straight down the middle to restore the hosts’ advantage.
Minutes later Spurs were level again – through Son again – as Maddison pounced on Jorginho’s dallying on the ball before setting his team-mate in to slip the ball past Raya. Both teams pushed hard to grab a winner with Kai Havertz and Saka seeing late shots miss the target which could have sealed it, but ultimately both teams will be happy – and relieved – to emerge with something to show for their efforts.
Leandro Trossard goal ends Arsenal’s six-year curse at Everton
Leandro Trossard hit a valuable winning goal for Arsenal as they extended their excellent start to the season against Everton at Goodison Park.
The Belgian winger struck home an excellent effort midway through the second half to finally help the Gunners to victory on Merseyside for the first time in six years.
Gabriel Martinelli looked to have given the Gunners the lead in the first-half, only for VAR to intervene and chalk-off his opener.
Arsenal eventually went in front in the second half through Trossard, with his goal being enough to carry Arsenal to their fourth win from their opening five games.
There were more than a few baffled glances around Goodison Park after Martinelli’s opener was disallowed. Commentator Gary Neville was among those scratching their heads.
The goal came about after Beto had attempted to block Gabriel Magalhaes’ pass. It then deflected all the way to Eddie Nketiah, who brought Fabio Vieira into play before the Portuguese midfielder released Martinelli with an expert pass.
The Brazilian’s finish was unerring as he slotted home. But Nketiah was adjudged to have been marginally offside in the build-up with the celebrations soon cut short.
Whilst Arsenal were aggrieved, it was the correct decision as Beto’s touch was unintentional. To make matters worse for Martinelli, he was substituted off through injury in the immediate aftermath.
Even ahead of kick-off, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta got supporters talking with his team selection. Summer signing David Raya replaced regular number one Aaron Ramsdale in goal.
He explained that the call had been made as part of a rotation policy ahead of a busy run of games. The Spaniard didn’t really have too much to do at all at Goodison Park so it remains to be seen whether it was the right call.
One man who may be a little frustrated is Ramsdale. The England keeper was consigned to the bench and that will not do his international prospects any favours, with Three Lions colleague Jordan Pickford impressing for Everton.
Arsenal struggled to break down their hosts for a long time at Goodison. Away from Martinelli’s disallowed goal and a good save from Jordan Pickford to deny Martin Odegaard early in the first half, the Gunners were lacking any real creativity.
That was until Trossard smashed the opener home. The former Brighton man polished off an excellent move to strike a thunderous effort in off the post.
It represented just his third goal for the North London side since moving to the Emirates Stadium. However, he is already developing a welcome habit with all three of those strikes coming as a substitute. The fact Arteta has players ready to make an impact only bodes well for a renewed title push.
The win will no doubt be satisfying for the Gunners but the fact that it has come at Goodison Park will leave an even wider smiler on Arteta’s face. Arsenal’s defeat at the same ground last season was one of a number of results which cost them in the race for the Premier League title.
That was certainly not an unfamiliar feeling with Arsenal winless away at Everton since 2017. They have also only scored two goals at Goodison in the time since.
Sunday’s showdown was equally as testing, with the Gunners looking for a long time as though they would depart frustrated. It is far too early in the season to say a win at Goodison could bolster their title chances but it no doubt allows Arsenal to breathe a sigh of relief.
Everton will be crestfallen having failed to keep Arsenal out despite keeping the Gunners at arms length throughout the majority of the clash. Things are looking up for the Toffees though with Dominic Calvert-Lewin returning sporting a mask after his cheek injury.
AFCON qualifier: Super Eagles thrash Sao Tome 6-0
Super Eagles of Nigeria wrapped up the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifiers with a comfortable 6-0 victory against Sao Tome and Principe at Nest of Champions, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom state, on Sunday.
A hat-trick from Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen and a goal each from Ademola Lookman, Taiwo Awoniyi, and substitute, Samuel Chukwueze ensured the team finished top of Group A ahead of Guinea Bissau.
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