It started with the Canadian coach, a Kiwi asshole named John Herdman, trying to work the referees in the presser the day before the game. I foolishly misread Herdman's performance (I mean other than the part about him being an asshole); I thought it portended a lot of Canadian diving. I was wrong, as Canadian forward Melissa Tancredi showed immediately by committing two brutal, bookable fouls within the first minute of the game. By our count, Tancredi was responsible for 9 of the 19 fouls called on the Canadians (USWNT was called for 20, all legit in reality and many of them questionable in light of what the Canadians were getting away with), which alone should've gotten her red-carded for persistence; she committed another dozen or so that went uncalled.
So the despicable fuckface John Herdman's strategy, then, was to try to neutralize the officials when he planned to turn the game into a rugby match. I don't have a problem with this, in and of itself. The Canadians have spent 11 years showing that they can't beat the US team at soccer. It's perfectly understandable that they'd want to try something else.
And it was working. The Canadian's persistent chippy fouls and outright brutality got their star player, Christine Sinclair, into prime attacking position three times--and she closed the deal on each, fueled by the Canadians' dislike of the US team coupled with her own personal rivalry with Abby Wambach, USWNT's (and, until yesterday, the world's) leading scorer. Good on her. In addition to three very well-played goals, I'll credit Sinclair (who I've never liked, but I have to acknowledge that she can score) with not personally participating in the brutality.
With the US down 3-2, Erin McLeod decided to deliberately delay the game by holding the ball; apparently, she'd been warned about that (she admitted as much, though it was a whiny, so-what sort of admission). The referee called her on it and awarded an indirect free kick inside the box--which bounced off of the arms of two Canadians. One arm was tucked. The other wasn't. Wambach converted the ensuing penalty to equalize, and the game was settled in the closing moments of extra time by an Alex Morgan header as USWNT fans collapsed in exhaustion and confusion.
This has unleashed a torrent of whining from Canadians who apparently didn't understand their team's strategy of fouling early, often, and hard, which had to that point been quite successful. They're wrong. The McLeod call was legitimate; no, it's not called often. Teams also don't often pursue a strategy of deliberately cheating, and get away with that even less often. To be offended at being called on it at a critical moment--with an admittedly dire result--is pretty poor. The handball wasn't deliberate, but Eve-Marie Nault's arm was well away from her body. She was making no effort to tuck it. The call is discretionary, but completely legit.
In short? Shut the fuck up, Canada. You rolled. You lost. I'll freely admit that your hypocritical whining in the aftermath makes me all the more happy to taste your bitter tears, but really? That's your doing.
FIFA is investigating comments that Herdman and the Canadian players made in the wake of their failure.
In the same story, Abby Wambach admits that she lobbied for the McLeod call by counting out loud while McLeod was holding the ball and pretending to look for a play.
Video: NBC captures the utterly innocent and blameless Melissa Tancredi deliberately stomping on Carli Lloyd's head.
YFWP: Christine Sinclair whines.
AP (from YFWP): The delay call, discussed.
I repeat: shut the fuck up, Canada. And anything nice I said about Christine Sinclair? Fuck that. What a classless piece of shit. I hope FIFA disciplines her and her coach for explicitly accusing the referee of fixing the match.
Bronze medal game, 8 AM Eastern time on Thursday. Go France, not that the Canadians' utterly reprehensible behavior has altered that--the only time I'm not pulling for the French women is when they're playing the US.
From the FIFA Laws of the Game (Law 12):
An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, commits any of the following four offences:
- controls the ball with his hands for more than six seconds before releasing it from his possession