July 10, 2011

A GAME WHERE GREAT WIN MEANS OVERCOMING THE INHERENT INJUSTICE OF THE OFFICIATING?:

Justice!: The USA women's triumph over Brazil was one of the most thrilling, and deserved, victories in recent sports history (Josh LevinPosted, July 10, 2011, Slate)

Sunday's quarterfinal victory by the U.S. women against Brazil, 12 years to the day after 1999's memorable win over China, was stirring for the reason every great sporting event is stirring. This was not a win for all the 8-year-old girls practicing in their backyards. This was a win by the American women, for themselves. And there can't be many teams in the history of balls, cleats, and nets that have deserved to win more than this one.

No game is perfectly fair, and the last hour of USA-Brazil seemed to be a contest to determine the far end of the unfairness scale. First came a questionable red card on American defender Rachel Buehler, who kinda, sorta took down Brazil's star Marta in the box. (I would've given her an orange card if such a thing existed.) Seconds later, Hope Solo's diving penalty kick save was disallowed, for reasons that FIFA, forever transparent, has yet to make clear. (The potential calls here—Solo moved before the kick was taken; an American player encroached on the penalty area—range from obviously incorrect to laughably strict.) Marta converted the PK do-over, tying the game 1-1, then scored again on a deft, slicing, left-footed shot in the opening minutes of extra time. The pass that freed Marta for her brilliant strike was delivered by a player who might have been offside. The assistant referee didn't call it.

At this point, Team USA was down 2-1 and seemed to be playing 10 against 12: the Brazilian 11 plus referee Jacqui Melksham. With time running out, Brazil's Erika engaged in the classic end-of-game maneuver of faking your own death, then springing back to life due to the restorative power of soccer's magically curative stretchers. The fans in Dresden hissed at this fakery, as they should have. This was the booing of sports fans scorned—the refs are against us, the other team is cheating, and this is all just so unfair.


How did her parents stop themselves from naming her Hanna?


Posted by at July 10, 2011 6:18 PM
  

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