Alex Morgan is getting real when it comes to her future goals.Following the U.S. Women’s National team’s loss to Sweden in penalty kicks during their August 6 knockout round match at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the soccer star set the record straight on her retirement plans. “It’s really hard to swallow, this game.” Alex told ESPN in a post-match interview. “It’s going to take a while for me to process this day. I’m not planning to hang up my boots anytime soon right now, so it’s just one day at a time.”
And despite coming up short in their quest for their third consecutive World Cup win, the 34-year-old is proud of the way her teammates played. “I felt like in the run of play we did really well,” she continued. “We broke them down extremely well. We limited them in front of our own goal. It’s hard to lose on penalties.” The loss to Sweden ended an overall subdued performance by the defending champions, who after a win over Vietnam and ties against the Netherlands and Portugal made it out of the group stages in second place.
After a 0-0 tie after regular play and extra time, the U.S. and Sweden went into penalty kicks—ultimately extending into seven players taking a shot on goal. The team’s three-peat dreams came to a sudden end with Sweden’s Lina Hurtig as goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher thought she saved the shot but the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) ended up showing that the ball had inched over the line
“We entertained, we created chances, we didn’t score and this is part of the game,” captain Lindsey Horan explained after the game, per CNN. “Penalties, to be frank, they suck, they’re too cruel. I’m proud of every player that stepped up to take a penalty today, score or miss, it’s courageous to go take a penalty.”
And although Alex isn’t looking for a final kick off, other teammates who are soon saying goodbye—including Megan Rapinoe, who announced ahead of the tournament that it would be her last—have found it even more emotional.
“It’s just emotional because it’s probably my last game ever being able to have the honor to wear this crest,” Julie Ertz said. “I mean it’s tough. Obviously, we’re proud of the way we played but we didn’t put anything in the back of the net.” The USWNT later took to social media to thank the fans who have continued to give the best off-field assist throughout their journey. “For sticking with us through every moment, every high and every low…,” the August 6 Instagram post read alongside a picture of the girls hugging. “Thank you.”