FIFA competitions are known for their rage-inducing calls and seemingly blind referees, and this years Women’s World Cup is no different.
Leading at just 1:20 into the game thanks to an own goal, the US played a fiery possession game against a slightly unorganized Brazil. The referee seemed to be favoring the American side for most of the game, refusing to give Carli Lloyd a second yellow after what looked like a purposeful handful.
But 65 minutes in, the refs went a bit haywire.
U.S. defender Rachel Buehler was called on a questionable foul as she and Brazil’s Marta battled for a 50/50 ball in the box. The referee gave Buehler a straight red card and awarded Brazil a penalty kick. Fueled by the pressure and growing frustration, US Keeper Hope Solo made an incredible save to stop Cristiane’s shot. But Solo and the US team’s celebration quickly turned to anger as the referee showed Solo a yellow and awarded Brazil with a retake because a US player entered the box before Cristiane took her shot, an enforcement of the encroachment law which is rarely called. Marta then took this opportunity to tie it up.
Enfuriated, the US Women’s fought valiantly to keep the game tied to go into extra time. Just two minutes into extra time, Marta scored again giving Brazil the 2-1 lead, once again bringing controversy. Replays showed that the Brazilian player that made the assist should have been called offside, but the lineswomen kept her flag down and no call was made.
Once again, the US Women’s showed an incredible resilience to give up and fought back. In the 122 minute with 10 women on the field, Megan Rapinoe delivered a beautiful cross to Abby Wambach, who’s header flashed past the Brazilian keeper and brought the game to a 2-2 draw. With only a minute left of injury time, the US forced to the game into penalties.
In the shootout, both sides showed their immense desire to win, but only one would earn the right to face France in the Semis. Nine penalties in, US’s Ali Krieger was at the penalty spot ready to score the game winner and eventually put it away to win the game.
Having faced every possible obstacle, the US Women’s have earned the right to play in the semis.[Gallery not found]