Epic battle between neighbors after Canada/US Women's soccer semifinals

Epic battle between neighbors after Canada/US Women's soccer semifinals

London : United Kingdom | Aug 08, 2012 at 1:26 PM PDT
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Pressure Makes Us: Tobin Heath

Many soccer fans saw one of the hardest and best fought battles in women's soccer on Monday. The game, for fans, was full of emotions. Christien Sinclair put Canada in the lead three times, with Rapinoe answering twice and Wambach equalizign the score with a controversial penalty kick ten minutes before the end of the game. The boiling point came when Morgan put the ball into the next in extra time, ensuring a US berth in the final against Japan.

Emotions ran high after the game and the Canadian women told the Norwegian referree, Christiana Pedersen, that she must be wearing a USA uniform, when considering made some of the calls made during the game.

One of the most controversial calls was a time delay call against Canada's keeper, which resulted in a free kick just outside the box. The subsequent Rapinoe free kick resulted in a handball and a penalty kick, which Abby Wambach easily sank in the net. One of the allegations was that one of the US players had counted the seconds out loud, influencing the referee.

There were the arguments that a similar situation in the US box had been ignored, while Canada's handball was not intentional. Officials are presently reviewing the after game behaviour by the Canadian side toward the referee, but have delayed the decision until after both the bronze medal and final have been completed.

Shortly after a hard fought battle, with emotions and adrenalin still running high, it is understandable that there was a reaction by Canada's women. While not pretty, these things can happen after a game. No one was threatened or physically attacked. It would be best to write it off as a lesson learned.

Today the US women weighed in on the game, charging that the Canadian women crosses the line with dirty tactics. Abby Wambach when asked about the game, first said what was done is done.

“What’s done is done,” said American star Abby Wambach.”I can’t speak for the referee. I don’t care how we got here. Our focus is entirely on the gold-medal game,” she said.

In Canada there is a heated discussion over the game and it's result, despite the fact that this was probably one of the best games ever played in women's soccer.

As a follower of Team Canada and the world championships, there has been vast improvement in the women's style and technical ability. Particularly the Canadian side, with its new coach, has demonstrated that they are more than a one woman team. An all out team effort is the order of the day.

Americans had their own take on the game and voiced their opinions during today's press conference for the final against Japan. Carli Lloyd, in particular, accuses Melissa Tancredi of deliberately stepping on her head.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw the replay. As it was happening in the game, I just thought someone accidentally stepped on me. When I saw that, I couldn’t believe it. I hope actions are taken,” Lloyd said.

Midfielder Megan Rapinoe said that it was basically two teams going after what they wanted and at times there were incidents that crossed the line. Lloyd reiterated that as far as the referee goes, you're not going to get the calls every time. Some of the calls could have gone either way.

The game is over, the women gave us a fantastic and exciting game. It's really time to look ahead and focus on Canada's game against France for the bronze medal and the U.S.'s game against Japan. Both matches promise to be classic.

Soccer is a game, where calls are still made by the referee on the ground and are not subject to instant replay. That may be in a team favour at one time and not another.

There were indeed rules broken on both sides, but referees are only human and it is human to err.

One thing is clear, this tournament has been one of the best in recent women's soccer history. Both the US and Canada can be proud of the contributions made by their teams.

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Controversy after US/Canada Epic Match
Refereee Pedersen makes a call (AFP)
Karl Gotthardt is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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