Let’s set the record record on a few separate things, all within the realm of women’s soccer.
1- Canadian Christine Sinclair is the Best Female Soccer Player in the world.
2- The U.S. Female Soccer Team is the best team in the world.
3- The American women’s soccer team outplayed the Canadian women’s soccer team during the London 2012 Olympic Games semi final match.
4- The American women’s soccer team should not have won that game.
In what was likely one of the greatest soccer games ever played at an Olympic Games, the U.S.A. defeated Canada 4-3. Coming from behind on 3 separate occasions before gorgeous Alex Morgan sealed the Canadian women’s fate with 30 seconds to go in stoppage time of the extra time’s 2nd and final half.
But this match never should have gone that far.
The Canadian women went ahead courtesy of Christine Sinclair (1-0), the Americans then tied it up (1-1). The Canadian women once again went ahead (2-1), one again courtesy of Christine Sinclair. The Americans then tied it up (2-2) once more.
The Canadian squad again pulled ahead, again due to the magnificence of Christine Sinclair (3-2). And that’s when referee Christiana Pedersen took the game out of the players hands (or perhaps feet is a more appropriate term) and called 2 very curious penalties against the Canadian women.
First Pedersen called a dubious foul on Canadian Goal Keeper Erin McLeod. A foul that is about as rare as match in which 10 goals are scored; a 6 second delay of game rule. Pedersen claimed that McLeod took too long to release the ball… in the closing moments… of a championship game… with chaos all around.
Nonetheless Pedersen awarded the Americans a Free Kick on the edge of the penalty box, which lead to the second dubious call the referee would make. With the free kick taken, the Canadian women formed a wall and the ball struck a Canadian player as she attempted to turn away and protect herself. Arms and hands were tucked in close to her body, as footballers are taught to do in these situations so has to avoid a handball.
Well, it appears as though Pedersen missed that class at FIFA referee school because she whistle another foul, and did the Americans one better than awarding a Free Kick at the penalty line. This time she awarded a Penalty kick. Sure enough the goal was scored and the game was tied 3-3.
Then with less than 30 seconds to go in stoppage time of extra time, as if to say Karma is full of sh*t, Alex Morgan scored a stunning goal and the American Women walked off with a 4-3 victory.
This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last time that an athletic contest will be decided by forces other than those who are competing, but it does create a great deal of animosity, mistrust and, bottom line, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Some measure of justice was served though. FIFA did announce that Pedersen would not be referring any more games during the Olympiads (although they claim that decision had nothing to do with the US – Canada match).
And in the Bronze Medal Match, Canada defeated France 1-0, giving the Canadian Women their first ever medal in Soccer.