FIFA Women's World Cup
Julie Ertz: Sweden loss was 'probably the last game' with USWNT
FIFA Women's World Cup

Julie Ertz: Sweden loss was 'probably the last game' with USWNT

Updated Aug. 6, 2023 9:01 a.m. ET

United States defender Julie Ertz was left in tears as she appeared to retire from international soccer in the wake of the national team's heartbreaking exit from the World Cup on penalty kicks on Sunday.

Sweden prevailed, 5-4, in a thrilling shootout in Melbourne to send the Americans home with the worst finish in the program's World Cup history, and Ertz was deeply affected as the reality of the situation sunk in.

"I think for me it is just emotional, because it is probably the last game ever being able to have the honor to wear this crest," Ertz told FOX's Jenny Taft. "It is just tough. It is just an emotional time. It absolutely sucks. Penalties are the worst.

"But it is an honor to represent this team and I am excited for the future of the girls."


'It's probably my last game ... being able to wear this crest' — Julie Ertz speaks after the United States' elimination at the World Cup

Leading in the shootout, the Americans fell apart. Of their last four kicks, only goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher scored. Each of the other three takers, veterans Megan Rapinoe and Kelley O'Hara, plus young star Sophia Smith, failed to get a shot on target.

Ertz was one of the remaining players eligible to take a kick but did not get the chance, and Lina Hurtig's decisive strike was ruled to have crossed the line courtesy of a VAR ruling.

'We just lost the World Cup by a millimeter' - USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher after United States' elimination

Ertz, 31, was a strong defensive presence alongside Naomi Girma throughout the tournament as the USA conceded just once in six-and-a-half hours of play, combining the group stage and the 0-0 round of 16 showdown with the Swedes.

She was a key member of the title-winning 2015 and 2019 squads and succeeded in a race against time to be ready for this year's tournament following injury and giving birth to her first child. The Angel City FC player made her national team debut in 2013 and has compiled 121 total appearances, per US Soccer.

"I mean it's tough," Ertz added. "We are proud of the way we played but we didn't put anything in the back of the net and the penalties was tough as well.

"It is the job to pass [the legacy] down to the younger ones to continue their DNA. It has been an absolute grind. I have learned so much about myself as a player but even just as a person."

Recapping the USWNT's World Cup journey and its match against Sweden

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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