USWNT Eliminated from 2016 Rio Olympics After Loss to Sweden

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2016

Sweden's Lisa Dahlkvist celebrates after scoring in the penalty kicks during a quarter-final match of the women's Olympic football tournament between the United States and Sweden in Brasilia Friday Aug. 12, 2016. Sweden beat the United Sates on penalty shootout.(AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Eraldo Peres/Associated Press

The United States' quest for a fourth straight Olympic gold medal came to a stunning end Friday when Sweden captured a 4-3 win on penalty kicks to reach the semifinals at the 2016 Rio Games. 

NBC Sports Soccer on Twitter provided an example of the stunned reaction from many Americans upon seeing the final score:

"We lost to a bunch of cowards," goalkeeper Hope Solo said after the game, per Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. "The better team did not win."

Following a 1-1 tie after 90 minutes and extra time, Lisa Dahlkvist pushed the match-winning penalty kick by Solo for the victory. Dahlkvist's heroics came after Christen Press sent her attempt over the bar, opening the door for Sweden to finish things off. 

There were two disallowed goals during extra time. Carli Lloyd knocked a header into the back of the net in the 115th minute, but she was flagged for pulling down Magdalena Ericsson. 

One minute later, Sweden had a goal from Lotta Schelin taken off the board for being offside. 

Sweden did take a 1-0 lead in the 61st minute thanks to a goal from Stina Blackstenius. The U.S. answered in the 77th minute when Alex Morgan put one past Hedvig Lindahl. 

This marks the first time since women's soccer was added to the Olympics in 1996 that the United States will not medal. The Americans have won four gold medals and one silver medal in their previous five Olympic appearances. 

Sweden was one of the world's best teams coming into the Olympics, ranking sixth in the most recent FIFA world rankings released in June. This win, however, marks its biggest in Olympic history. The team was able to make it to the quarterfinals in 2008 and 2012 before being sent home. 

Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports posited this question following Sweden's monumental victory:

It's a valid question for the Swedish women's soccer team, especially since the U.S. has been a juggernaut for so long and appeared well on its way to another gold medal before Friday's stunning defeat. 

Olympian Lolo Jones noted she was going to take her anger out from this defeat during her weightlifting session:

Sweden will await the winner of Brazil vs. Australia in the semifinals. The United States has a star-studded roster that on paper would have made it a shoo-in for at least a medal, but on this day, Sweden played a perfect game and took advantage of its openings for its biggest Olympic win in women's soccer. 

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