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Holders U.S ousted by Musovic-inspired Sweden

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Holders U.S ousted by Musovic-inspired Sweden

 

Reigning champions, U.S are out of the Women’s World Cup after a nerve-shredding penalty shootout loss to Sweden on Sunday.

The holders will return home without a FIFA Women’s World Cup medal for the first time in their history.

This was after losing 4-5 to Sweden on penalties, following a goalless 120 minutes of football in an unforgettable last-16 tie in Melbourne.

Lina Hurtig squeezed home the winning spot-kick, albeit only just, after goalkeeper Zecira Musovic had been the Swedes’ heroine in the 120 preceding minutes against a dominant U.S side.

Although it wasn’t laden with goals and attacking inspiration, this much-anticipated match produced fascinating, full-blooded fare from the opening minutes until the last kick.

The first half undoubtedly belonged to U.S, with Trinity Rodman’s elusive, incisive wing play the most effective offensive weapon on either side.

Twice inside eight minutes the youngster showed pace and skill to burst away from her marker, each time firing in a right-foot shot that stung the palms of Musovic.

Sweden’s goalkeeper and player-of-the-match was exceptional throughout, and her team were once again indebted to her early in the second period.

This was when Lindsey Horan – who had earlier rattled the bar with a header – went for goal again.

The U.S captain could not have struck her first-time right-foot effort any more sweetly, but just as the ball looked set to nestle in the bottom corner, Musovic stuck out her left hand to divert it wide.

Those fears would have increased when Musovic produced another superb save to keep out a late Alex Morgan header.

Holders’ hearts were also in mouths when, with five minutes of the 90 remaining, Stina Blackstenius cut inside and forced Alyssa Naeher into her first save of the match – and, remarkably, the entire tournament

Extra time brought more Musovic magic, with the Sweden keeper thwarting Morgan, Lynn Williams and Sophia Smith as the tension continued to build.

That left penalties to settle the outcome, and while the U.S again seemed to be in control, crucial misses from Megan Rapinoe, Smith and, finally, Kelley O’Hara left Hurtig with the chance to make history.

The substitute’s spot-kick looked to have been saved by Naeher but, after an agonising few seconds in which the entire stadium held its breath, the ball was shown to have crossed the line.

Sweden celebrated wildly and can now look forward to a quarter-final against the in-form Japanese at Auckland’s Eden Park.

This was U.S’s first Women’s World Cup defeat – excluding penalty shootouts – since Sweden themselves beat the Americans in 2011… 4414 days ago!

Lindsey Horan, USA captain rued her team’s missed goal scoring opportunities, adding that losing by the lottery of penalties was a cruel way to bow out from the tournament.

 

“We played beautiful football today, we entertained, but we didn’t score and this is part of the game.

“Penalties, to be frank, they suck. They’re cruel, I’ve gone through too many in my career, and I’m proud of every player who stepped up to take one today.

“Score or miss, it’s courageous to step up and take a penalty.”

Vlatko Andonovski, U.S coach hailed his team for putting up a good showing, saying however that it was unfortunate that their best wasn’t good enough.

“I’m so proud of the team and I know we were criticised for the way we played in the group stage.

“But I think we came out today and showed what we’re all about – the grit, the resilience, the bravery.

“Unfortunately, football can be cruel sometimes,” he said.

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I Still Get Attacked By People – Yakubu Aiyegbeni Reveals

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In a recent interview, former Nigerian football star Yakubu Aiyegbeni has revealed that he continues to receive messages and criticisms from fans, years after his infamous miss during the 2010 FIFA World Cup match against South Korea.

The moment, etched into football history, occurred during Nigeria’s crucial group stage game against South Korea. With the score tied at 2-2 and a spot in the knockout stages on the line, Aiyegbeni found himself with what seemed like an open goal opportunity. However, to the shock of fans worldwide, he missed the chance, leaving Nigeria unable to secure the much-needed victory.

 

Despite this moment happening over a decade ago, Aiyegbeni expressed his surprise at the ongoing messages he receives about the miss. “I still get messages from people, different messages,” he stated in the interview. “It’s surprising how that moment still sticks with people, even after all these years.”

The striker, who had a successful career playing for clubs like Everton and Portsmouth in the English Premier League, admitted that the miss was a tough moment in his career. “Of course, it was a big moment, and I wish it had gone differently. But in football, you have highs and lows,” he remarked.

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Napoli Sack Rudi Garcia, Announce Mazzarri As Replacement

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Serie A giants Napoli have announced the departure of coach Rudi Garcia after a poor spell and announced his successor with immediate effect

Reigning Serie A champions Napoli have announced the departure of French manager Rudi Garcia after a poor run of form that sees the Partenopei handing on to faint hopes of defending the Scudetto title won last season.

Napoli have only claimed one win in their last four matches in all competitions, trailing Serie A leaders Inter by 10 points while also trailing Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League by five points.

Osimhen gets new coach as Napoli reportedly appoint Walter Mazzarri to replace Rudi Garcia

 

With the Partenopei looking a lot worse than they did at this stage last season, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has chosen to act swiftly before things get out of hand.

The club chief revealed that Garcia had been relieved of his duty, after posting a message on social media platform X to announce the arrival of the Frenchman’s replacement.

Napoli announce Garcia successor
That replacement is a former Napoli manager Walter Mazzarri[url][/url], who was welcomed back to the club by De Laurentiis, who was also the owner during his last spell at the club.

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