The women’s soccer semifinals are set in the 2016 Olympics, and they do not include the heavy favorites in the final four.
The USWNT was sent home early in penalties after a 1-1 draw with Sweden and former coach Pia Sundhagen. Sweden bunkered in and played a defensive style, looking to hit on the counter. Alex Morgan drew the game level for the United States with less than 15 minutes to go in regulation, but that was all they could muster.
Goalkeeper Hope Solo was furious with Sweden’s style of play following the match, and had some strong words for her former coach.
Sweden’s opponent was also decided by penalties in the final match of the day, a late, incredibly hard-fought one in Belo Horizonte that saw hosts Brazil top Australia in penalties after a 0-0 draw. The match was a physical slugfest that saw numerous near-misses for both sides over 120 minutes but ultimately no goals.
The resulting penalty shootout was clinical, and Australia had a chance to win it after 5-time Player of the Year Marta missed her kick, but Brazilian goalkeeper Barbara came up big to stop Katrina Gory. Barbara then won it for Brazil when she stopped Alanna Kennedy on the ninth round of kicks to send the hosts through.
Elsewhere, Canada progressed to its second straight semifinals by taking down France 1-0 on a goal from Sophie Schmidt, fed by an eye-popping assist from Janine Beckie, who sliced through the French defense with a scything run. They will take on Germany, who beat China 1-0 on a howitzer from Melanie Behringer after the Chinese dropped to 10 players. Shanshan Wang received her second yellow card in the 57th minute – just 12 minutes after coming off the substitutes bench after the break – and it took Germany 19 minutes of heavy pressure to record the winner.