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The United States Women’s National Team lost in penalties to Sweden in the World Cup Round of 16 early on Sunday morning, its worst finish ever.
But it wasn’t the team’s only loss, as longtime defender Julie Ertz also announced her retirement from international football.
“Unfortunately this is my last time in this crest,” she told ESPN’s Alexis Nunes after the match.
She wasn’t the only long-time mainstay who had her curtain call in Australia—iconic forward Megan Rapinoe was also appearing in her final game, and missed a crucial penalty after the game was even through both regulation and extra time.
“I feel so lucky and so grateful to play as long as I have and been on as many successful teams as I have, and be a part of a very special generation that has done so much on and off the field,” she told reporters after the match. “It would be hard to feel disappointed in any type of way. Obviously there’s the immediate disappointment of being out of the tournament, but I’m OK. I’m ready in a lot of ways to be done and I feel at peace with that.”
She was one of three USWNT players to to miss a penalty in the shootout, which Sweden won 5-4.
As for Ertz, the 31-year-old made 122 appearances for the United States, with 20 goals and two World Cup titles in her international career. Her partnership with Naomi Girma in the United States’ backline wasn’t the issue for the country in the World Cup, as the Americans only gave up one goal in four games.
The issue was a stale performance from the midfield and an inability from the attackers to finish chances, leading to just four goals in those four games—three of them came against Vietnam—and just one win, two draws and a loss.
Still, Ertz is optimistic about the players who will remain with the national team.
“The future is in absolutely great hands,” she said. “You know, sometimes you learn the most from your failures, which sucks. But it’s part of my career as well.”
“I’m so excited for [the USWNT] in the future,” she added.