Blog Entry

Women win classic ... hope you were watching

Posted on: July 10, 2011 4:15 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 5:13 pm
That was one of the most compelling games of international sport -- any sport -- in U.S. history. Hope you were watching. Hope Solo hopes you were watching, too.

Problem is, it was soccer. And not just soccer, but women's soccer. And so society being what it is, this game -- a U.S. victory against Brazil in penalty kicks on Sunday in a World Cup quarterfinal -- probably won't go down in history with some of the others unmistakably on that list, all-timers like the U.S. men's hockey team's win over the Soviets in 1980 and the U.S. men's basketball team's loss to the Soviets in 1972.

Sunday's soccer game wasn't for the ultimate championship, but neither was that hockey game in 1980. The gold-medal game was against Finland, but I digress.

This soccer game on Sunday, this women's soccer game, was the most compelling soccer match in American history. If you won't give me the first sentence of this blogg post, surely you'll give me that last one. The U.S. women have won world titles before -- two in the World Cup, three in the Olympics -- but there has never been a game like this one.

A game with awful officiating, flopping opponents, a goal in the final seconds of extra time in the latter of two overtimes to force penalty kicks, then a final penalty kick by Ali Krieger to finish off the Brazilians.

The Americans were screwed by blind officiating on at least one goal, then had to play 10-on-11 -- and I'm telling you, it was more like 10-on-14 counting the officials -- after Rachel Buehler was sent off the field with a red card on a penalty against Marta that probably wasn't a penalty and definitely wasn't worthy of expulsion. That led to a Brazilian penalty kick that U.S. keeper Hope Solo swatted away, only to be told to do it again because, well, as of this writing I'm not sure why Solo had to do it again.

All I know is she couldn't, and Marta scored on the retake, and a 1-0 U.S. lead became a 1-1 tie. Brazil eventually went ahead 2-1, but Abby Wambach buried a second-overtime header seconds before the game would end in defeat, and it was on to penalty kicks.

This was a victory for the United States, yes, but it was also a victory for class and dignity. Brazil showed very little of it with the theatrical flopping and bush-league stalling tactics.

I'm not sure the better team won. But I'm sure the classier team won. And if you're thinking to yourself, "This blogg post sure was written by an American homer," I'd tell you that you're damn right.

Category: Soccer
Tags: USA

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: July 10, 2011 4:29 pm

Women win classic ... hope you were watching

And you just marred a classic, Doyel. You're part of why I openly root against the Americans in the Olympics, because you're part of that group who couldn't care less about a sport most of the time but follow it when you can claim national pride. How can I tell that? The best player on the U.S. team is Abby W-A-M-B-A-C-H, not Wambaugh.

It was a great win for the United States, but it was also not the most compelling soccer match in U.S. history. I'd put this fourth, behind the men beating Algeria last year, the women beating China in 1999 and the men losing to Germany in 2002.

Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: July 10, 2011 4:28 pm

Women win classic ... hope you were watching

That call against Buehler was ridiculous.  Wasn't even a foul in the box - they went shoulder to shoulder.  It was just good aggressive play.  And the redo PK was equally ridiculous - Hope moved laterally, which is legal.  If it was an encroachment call, all I can say is that it was incredibly cheap.

Nice try sinking the US FIFA, but better luck next time.  

Since: Jan 10, 2011
Posted on: July 10, 2011 4:27 pm

Women win classic ... hope you were watching

What an incredible game and this column belongs on the front page. Casual soccer fans may not appreciate how amazing it was for the US to play ten against eleven for nearly half the game and win. And not only win but to win in a miraculous comeback fueled by passion, heart, stamina, and perhaps some moral outrage. Hope Solo's name defines her mission and may be the most perfect name possible for a goalkeeper. She and Amy Wambach have earned a place in all of sports history. I usually don't like over-patriotic displays of USA! USA! over trivial things, but this was deserving of national pride and apparently shared by many in the rest of the world for a change.

Since: Oct 31, 2009
Posted on: July 10, 2011 4:25 pm

Women win classic ... hope you were watching

Well said.  It should be an obvious foul for a penalty kick to decide a game and I'm not totally sure there was even contact on that play or - if so - it was after the fact.  You never see a penalty kick retaken due to (well said . .  for whatever the reason was) any cause whatsoever.  It would have ben a very bitter defeat if the 2 - 1 game would have stood.  The US played very courageously and very well with only 10 players.  What an outstanding moment in US sports history.

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