The USWNT, reigning champions since 2015, are out of the Women’s World Cup — largely down to a remarkable goalkeeping performance from Sweden’s Zecira Musovic.

The Chelsea player made one quite remarkable save and a host of other fine stops during normal time and extra time to keep out the U.S. as the game finished goalless and went to penalties.

Musovic could not save any of the U.S.’s penalties but she did watch Megan Rapinoe and Sophia Smith — who would have sent her team through if she had scored — miss the target.

Then, in sudden death, Kelley O’Hara hit the post and Lina Hurtig scored to send Sweden through. But they would not have made it to the quarter-finals without Musovic…

What did Musovic do against the USWNT?

What didn’t she do?

She made 11 saves, including some outrageous highlight stops that left the USWNT attackers stunned.

In truth, Musovic was the only reason Sweden managed to stay in the game until the end. This might go down as the best goalkeeping performance of the tournament so far.

Tell me more about the Sweden goalkeeper…

The 27-year-old plays for Chelsea in the Women’s Super League (WSL). Despite having the No 1 shirt, Musovic is Emma Hayes’ second-choice keeper, with the Chelsea manager preferring Germany goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger instead last season.

Her place in the pecking order next season is unclear given Chelsea signed England international Hannah Hampton in July after bringing in Belgium’s Nicky Evrard in March.

This tournament will no doubt have given Hayes something to think about — Berger has not started a game for Germany, with Merle Frohms taking the No 1 shirt, and Mary Earps is England’s clear first-choice keeper ahead of Hampton.

Musovic has played 19 games for Chelsea since signing for them in 2021 from FC Rosengard.

Horan denied again!

The captain once again almost finds the opener, but Musovic keeps the game level.

🎥: @FOXSoccer

— SiriusXM FC 157 ⚽️📻 (@SiriusXMFC) August 6, 2023

Alongside Berger, she is the joint-tallest goalkeeper in the WSL, standing at 5ft 11ins (180cm).

The hype around Musovic has definitely been building, but her reaction fingertip save from a Lindsey Horan rocket from the edge of the box in the second half against the U.S. may be a defining moment. The shot was registered at 92km/hour (57mph). It will be a very good contender for save of the tournament.

Sweden, USWNT

(Photo: William West/AFP via Getty Images)

What else do we know about her?

On her personal website, she says her parents fled war in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s with her three siblings: one brother and two sisters. Sweden was the country that “welcomed them with open arms”.

Musovic was born in Sweden and idolised her older brother.

“My brother was my biggest role model,” she wrote. “I started kicking and running after a ball because of him, I took a bachelor’s degree in economics just like him and the similarities between us are remarkable. He has also been one of few that always supported me playing soccer… not just seeing it as a short-lived hobby.”

She has been a pundit on Swedish television and is involved with a project called Next Generation Dreamers, which aims to show that “all girls, regardless of their background, should be allowed to play football and dream big”.

“​I have met a lot of contradictions regarding me playing soccer and dreaming big,” she wrote on her website. “Always when we went back to Bosnia for summer holiday, my boots were my number one in my packing. It was me and all the boys.

“Nothing I really reflected upon back then, much because I enjoyed it and wanted to do it. When that is the case, nobody can really stop me.”

Sweden, USA

(Photo: Alex Grimm – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Is it a surprise she’s Sweden’s No 1?

One of the big questions was who could replace the legendary Hedvig Lindahl. Manager Peter Gerhardsson has, to the surprise of some, opted for Musovic over Jennifer Falk in goal for Sweden.

Musovic is probably not a better shot-stopper than Falk and often spills powerful efforts, but she’s unquestionably more physically imposing — and is less likely to be dominated inside her own six-yard box.

Musovic has started every game for Sweden at this World Cup and has conceded only one goal in normal time to date.

This is her second World Cup — she was selected as one of three goalkeepers for Sweden in the 2019 edition alongside Lindahl and Falk, although she did not start any of the games.

(Top photo: Robin Alam/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)