Women’s Soccer World Cup Update: Shirts Remain on After Penalty Kicks

Holy *hit. After what happened Sunday morning, you would have to be living under a rock not to know the Women’s World Cup is happening. And it’s happening in spectacular fashion. I know we all just want to talk about the US/Brazil game (or the haircuts) but first let’s catch up on all the other greatness that’s transpired.

Well, not all of it has been greatness. Canada surprised everyone with their poor showing. Going 0-3 in the group stage, the team many pegged for coming second in Group A couldn’t pull off a single win. The only other team not to score a point in the Group Stage was Equatorial Guinea.

This is as sad as I can look while holding a woman

The quarterfinals began with the match between England and France. Despite France taking 33 shots on goal to England’s 7, the English hung on to keep it 1-1 at the end of extra time. English players, known for their affinity to miss penalty kicks, held up to that stereotype. Karen Bardsley, the English keeper raised in California, made a fantastic save only to have it spoiled by Claire Rafferty pulling her penalty wide. With the game on the line, England’s Faye White hit the crossbar sending France on to the semi-finals.

After the drama of that game, most were expecting a close but predictable match between the favorite, Germany and the slightly cocky Japanese team. Their confident attitude paid off as Japan upset the host team 0-1 on a goal by substitute Karina Maruyama. This marked the first time Japan has beaten a European side. A good sign for the progress of women’s soccer, a bad sign for white supremacists everywhere.

I have to admit, I didn’t see the Sweden vs. Australia match. It appears it was the least exciting of the bunch as the Swedes beat a young Australian team 3-1. Sweden is the only group winner to advance to the semi-finals where they will face Japan.

Last but certainly not least was the game I woke up at 8 a.m. on a Sunday for. The United States vs. Marta and Brazil. What could have been the U.S.’s earliest exit from the World Cup stage turned into the most exciting soccer game I’ve ever seen. For U.S. fans anyway. For fans of Brazil it was probably the equivalent of when a dream collapses in Inception.

Initially it seemed luck was in favor of the Americans when an own goal by Daiane at two minutes fired up the team. The match progressed normally until the little ref that could hit Rachel Buehler with a red card for a foul within the box. With no choice but to shake off what I think was a bad call, Hope Solo saved the penalty kick by Christiane and showed everyone why she is regarded as one of the best keepers in the world. However, the celebration was short-lived as a rekick was awarded and a mysterious yellow card floated down from the heavens above and took a dump right on Hope Solo’s perfectly slicked back ponytail. Marta converted the second try as a bewildered stadium looked on. At the end of the match, the announcers could only wonder aloud why a second try had been rewarded. It has been opined that encroachment by a U.S. player was the cause but usually such a minor infraction would not result in a retake.

I moved on, they moved on, the world moved on. We entered extra time with the crowd clearly against Brazil. Their complaining had ticked those in attendance off as they began to boo whenever Marta possessed the ball. Marta had no fucks to give and scored a phenomenal goal a couple minutes in. There’s no doubt that the goal was brilliant, but again it was tarnished as Brazil may have been offside. This came just seconds after a questionable offside call was made against the Americans.

As the clock continued to wind down the American women began to fire at will, and I began to consider the likelihood of me crying if they were to lose the game. Brazil began stalling and took this tactic to the extreme with three minutes left on the clock. After being involved in a collision near the goal, Erika walked about five steps then inexplicably fell to the ground in a performance as convincing as Ezel’s from the movie Friday. While being carted off the field on a stretcher, Erika unstrapped herself and returned to the pitch. Had she known what would happen in injury time, she probably would have walked off her fake injury because at two minutes, Megan Rapinoe took advantage of the alternative lifestyle haircut connection. With Rapinoe’s beautiful cross from deep, Wambach lept into the air and netted the ball using her signature header. After many a questionable call, Wambach’s extra time heroics forced penalty kicks.

The vet Shannon Boxx was up first. She was rewarded a retake after goalie, Andreia stepped off her line on the first attempt. She converted the second try as did all players until Brazil’s third kicker. Daiane, the same same player that scored the own goal, had her shot saved by Solo. The next shot for each team was successful leaving the win in the hands (feet?) of Alex Krieger. She made her penalty kick, and the U.S. moves on to the semi-finals. Twelve years to the day after Brandi Chastain’s sports bra celebration, Krieger remained shirted. This makes sense to me since I’ve never had the urge to rip off my shirt while basking in my own awesomeness. Nevertheless, I am saddened by this missed opportunity.

After a game that exciting, I never know how to celebrate. Jump in a pool fully clothed? Chug a 2 liter of pop? High-five a kitten? I settled on stringing together random letters on Twitter in a fit of excitement. Then I ate a bagel. The semi-finals are Wednesday, July 13. Make sure you have bagels on hand to celebrate if your team wins. Also, these videos should answer a particular question you may or may not have about the players on the Women’s National Team.

*All World Cup pictures from Getty Images

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Brittani Nichols is a Los Angeles based comedy person. When she's not tweeting about white people or watching television, she's probably eating pizza. Actually, she's probably doing all three of those things concurrently and when she's not doing THAT, she's sleeping. Brittani also went to Yale and feels weird about mentioning it but wants you to know.

Brittani has written 328 articles for us.


    • yeah i am rooting for sweden hardcore. and i know someone mentioned it below but THE NEXT MATCHES ARE WEDNESDAY THE 13th! (my birthday, so i get some sweet soccer gamez)

  1. Pretty much read this whole thing just for the mention of someone being shirtless. Having said that, if I was a soccer fan, I would be thanking Brittani for the detailed coverage.
    That is dedication.

  2. Pingback: If US can’t love soccer after this, it never will – Seattle Post Intelligencer | Bistro Press

  3. This game quickly took the spot in my heart reserved for bestsoccergameofmylife. And I watched us win the the Cup in ’99. It doesn’t get much better than a win in PK’s after a dramatic game against Brazil! It made getting up early on a Sunday totally worth it.

  4. oh those videos are the best, love these women. also, my brother is watching and is genuinely into it which surprised me and is awesome.

  5. A good summary of the 2011 Women’s World Cup Soccer. The Brazil v USA game is a classic. The pass from Megan Rapinoe was a beauty and Abby Wambach made an awesome header to set-up the penalty-kicks and the win.

    FYI, the semi-finals are on Wed, July 13, 2011 and Finals on Sunday.

  6. I’m hoping for a Sweden vs. US final, but it makes me uber-sad that the US has to beat France to get there first.

  7. Also, I missed most of these matches due to not having a TV in my apartment – anywhere I can watch them online?

    • I think it depends on your service provider… but ESPN3 (online) lets me watch all the FIFA games on demand.

    • I stream them online. I just google something like “stream world cup espn” and it shows up.

  8. this game and the game between Liverpool and AC Milan in Istanbul are the best/nerve wracking fucking games of football I have ever fucking seen. I just saw the replay and it still got me all excited and super fucking thrilled to be a fan of football. holy shit! Hope Solo has the best bitch face ever! World cup games (men & women) are the only reason why I wake up so early on the fucking weekends. This time, so totally fucking worth it.

  9. Ok, sorry England, I like you a lot but mah playas are finally getting paiid! seriously, since the French team has won a thing, everyone is like “More money for French female football players!” because most of them have jobs on the side while the guys have their faces on my water bottles and box of cookies.

  10. Also, Rose, try ESPN3dotcom. Click replay, look for them. Think they’ve got all the games.

  11. My fam in Germany were at the game, and they said that even some of the neutral fans around them who loved Marta turned on the Brazilians after the ridiculousness of the goal gifting to Brazil.

    I had to go to work right after the game and I forced all the customers to discuss soccer with me. Most of them didn’t even know it was on, but I just kept rambling about FIFA Law and the crazy carding and the beautiful goals. Maybe some of them will watch a game? I’m not even sure if the final will be this great. This game may be tied in my heart with the 99 final (after which I switched my soccer number to 9).

    Though, as a player, I will say that shoot outs are not my favorite way to finish a game. They are exciting to watch though. =]

  12. The ref clearly had too much of the kool-aid before coming on. It was a brilliant match though. Beauty of a header. Hoping for Sweden and the USA in the finals. Great World Cup so far.

  13. Go to streamhunter.tv/ to watch…better the espn, and it gives you multiple links/channels to choose from. The eurosport hd is the best one I’ve found.

  14. I always knew I loved Abby Wambach, and then I saw the profile video of her and Heather O’Reilly, and I gained a new appreciation for her.

    G-d damn, I love this team. I wonder which actors will play them when Hollywood makes a movie about that game.

      • The only question is which American with an alternative lifestyle haircut Ellen Page will play.

        • We should probably collectively cast the whole movie.

          Jennifer Carpenter as Hope Solo?
          Heather Morris as Amy Rodriguez?
          Lena Headey as Alex Morgan?

  15. Fantastic recap, thanks! I don’t have TV anymore, so I’ll have to investigate those links.

  16. I was jumping, laughing, screaming when Wambach scored, my mom was scolding me since it was already night (it was totally worth it). My brother was laughing, saying some shit about women’s football but in the end he became Marta’s fan. That was a great game. Hope USA will win the world cup. Oh, and one more thing I love you Rapinoe!!!!

  17. I’m a fan of the Dutch for men’s football, and as exciting/heartbreaking as that amazing final was last year, I have to say this game totally, totally beat that and every other match ever for most dramatic. This case is helped of course by my giant crush on Amy LePeilbet and her alternative lifestyle haircut.

    As to what comes next, I really can’t see the U.S. failing to take advantage of this, they’ll hopefully beat France and then force revenge on Sweden in the final.
    Awesome recap Brittani!

  18. omg the Erika fall-down-waste-time-run-back-on was ridiculous. i was rooting for brazil but REALLY, PAPI, REALLY? brazil was hard to stomach that game, other than martas sweet goal. the US totally earned their spot thats for sure.

    buuuuut, im rooting for france in the next game cause i enjoy rooting for impressive underdogs, and france has really stepped it up this year.

    I HEART SWEDEN GO SWEDEN U BEST BE WINNING. LANDSTROM/SCHELIN FTW plz. they need to put landstrom back in.

    i like sweden because their advantage is their passing and swiftness, not the fact they can pull theatrics and are super rough and contact-y like certain other teams *cough brazil cough*

  19. If FIFA hadn’t banned Iran and Jordan from playing because the teams wear hijab, I’d be way into this. Japan might’ve beat Sweden but unfortunately the white supremacists did get get some good news this tournament. Sigh.

    Does anyone know if any of the other players have spoken out about this?

  20. That U.S./Brazil game was something else! After living in Brazil I was a bit torn, but my true allegiance is always with the U.S., and boy did they perform!

  21. Great recap B,

    Fucking amazing game. I was sitting there livid at the officiating, the announcers are basically saying ‘this is the earliest exit for the U.S. team’ and the amazingly awesome Megan Rapinoe places the sweetest cross to Wambach to tie it. Brilliant.

    Two more and bring the Cup home!

  22. It’s been a long time since I was this excited about a soccer tournamnent (maybe when I was a kid and the men’s WC was held in the states in 1994). Am following every game and all of the reporting :D

    And I am amazed that anyone could enjoy watching the USA-Brazil game. The ref was so bad that there was no point getting invested in what the players did ’cause you never knew how the ref would react. (That said, I held Brazil as favourites but didn’t really mind the possibility of the US to win, but by the end of the game I didn’t care if none or both won)

    Now the Swedish game was entertaining on every level. And to Mon who said that Sweden only scored on “defensive lapses”. That is usually what happens when one team plays better than the other.

    • well yes the first 2 goals were well deserved but if you saw the 3rd you would understand what i meant. and not to mention at least half of the goals scored against australia throught the tournament were like that – not just lapses but serious judgement and communication errors. the aussie defense was not up to par for the whole tournament, so they did well to get as far as they did in my opinion. and i’m australian anyway so trying not be biased.

  23. Thanks for the recap. As someone who also wasn’t sure how to celebrate, I settled for jumping up and down in my apartment, much like Hope Solo celebrating in front of the goal and probably managed to piss off/confuse my neighbors. I was then late to work. Oh well.
    I’ve got to give major props to Rapinoe. I wasn’t sure I agreed with Pia’s decision to put her in for Cheney, because Cheney’s been having an amazing World Cup so far and was playing well against Brazil. And then Rapinoe wasn’t exactly having her best game, but she somehow puts all of that out of her mind to connect on the most beautiful cross I’ve ever seen? Amazing. Love this team. Too bad I have to work Wednesday and will miss the game.

  24. So no mention that the referee should have given U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd her second yellow for a handball in the second half and didn’t? No mention, also, that Erika got a yellow card for her ridiculous acting at the end of OT?

    • I honestly think the ref missed the Carli Lloyd handball. She called everything she saw super strict but then she missed stuff. Missing offsides on a goal that put Brazil ahead in overtime? That’s huge and inexcusable. And I mean, Ericka should’ve gotten a yellow card in the first place. To me I think that’s just what should’ve happened and doesn’t necessarily deserve brownie points.

      The time stalling thing ain’t new for soccer though. Ghana did it against the U.S. last year in the World Cup and it pissed me off. Dude laid there rolling around and made a stretcher come and then got right back up and was fine to walk. I think the only difference is that Ericka ran right back on the field to play, but the Ghana dude was replaced. (If I’m remembering correctly). He didn’t get carded, but it did add extra time. Which is fine… the stoppage time Ericka added is where we scored.

      Personally, I think the ref was overly involved and interfering. She was lecturing players on the rules before play resumes, as if they aren’t professional athletes. The ref herself seemed to waste a lot of game time.

      • “Ericka should’ve gotten a yellow card in the first place. To me I think that’s just what should’ve happened and doesn’t necessarily deserve brownie points.”
        I didn’t say it deserves brownie points, I said that it should have been mentioned in the article. If you’re mentioning all the calls that benefited Brazil it’s only fair to mention the ones that benefited the US as well.
        Also, that offside was pretty close. So close in fact that I am still not sure if it really was offside. I can totally understand not calling it, it’s FIFA’s instructions after all to let the play run through if the linesman is in doubt.
        But at least we know FIFA is an equal opportunity offender, refereeing is just as bad in the WWC as it was during men’s World Cup last year.

        • But that Ericka yellow card didn’t “benefit” the U.S. By that definition of mentioning calls that benefited a team, we’d need to mention every single correct call that stopped possession the ball “benefited” the other team. That’s not what anyone is talking about. The ref is supposed to make correct calls. That’s not a “benefit,” that’s just the rules. We’re talking about WRONG calls that unfairly benefited teams. The Ericka call was a RIGHT call and thus not an extra “benefit.” I think the ONLY call in the entire game you could say that benefited the U.S. was not giving Carli Lloyd a second yellow. It was a wrong call that helped us. And I like I said, I think that’s only because the ref missed it. Calls that benefited Brazil? ALL OF THEIR GOALS: An offside goal and a questionable re-kick. And then us being incorrectly called offside directly before Marta’s second goal. That’s three calls right there that directly hurt the U.S. and helped Brazil unfairly.

          • sorry, that’s what I get from not proofreading.
            I meant Carly Lloyd’s handball as the call that benefited the USA that wasn’t mentioned in the article. If that was called the US would end the game with 9 players. That is a HUGE difference.
            Erika’s yellow card was perfectly fair, as I said on my 1st comment.
            Now, the encroachment is usually never called but it did happen. No reason to argue with that one.
            The offside was really tough to call, it could go both ways I guess. Though FIFA tells the linesmen to let the play run when in doubt.

  25. I wasn’t even home for the last part of this game and am STILL super excited about it. Go USA!

  26. Is it strange that I have read this entire article in my head in a British accent? And you know what– it made it so much more EPIC!

  27. “Megan Rapinoe took advantage of the alternative lifestyle haircut connection.” THIS! Exactly my thoughts!
    ESPN needs to hire you as an announcer! Or maybe Sports Illustrated needs to buy your AS posts!

    I’m just hoping I don’t get written up at work on Wednesday for streaming the match!

  28. Sorry Brittani but looks like you swallowed the ESPN jingoistic kool-aid that so many fans do when it comes to international competition. First you question an obvious takedown of Marta in the penalty area. When an offensive player gains an unimpeded advantage that deep into the penalty area only to be purposefully taken down it is a red card. The last thing soccer needs is defenders taking down players with sloppy, illegal tackles just feet from the goal.

    ESPN has already stated they were wrong in questioning the rekick. Personally I think they should issue a letter of apology. It is one thing to differ on a call. Instead they repeatedly insulted the referee for that call making many lemmings think the woman was an idiot. Replays showed the American defender entering the penalty area before the kick. By the time of the kick, she is a good 4 to 5 yards inside the penalty area. All the other players are still outside the penalty area making sure the kick was not done. Not only that the defender is able to get great possession on the rebound preventing an easy Brazil follow up. This is no different than offsides in American football. I have seen it happen several times. I have never, ever seen a ref refuse to call it. It is the letter of the law.

    As for the boobirds. Did you not watch Brazil’s prior 3 games? This match is in Germany and Germany has detested Marta since 2007 when she attacked the heavy fouling defense of Germany in the press. That is why they were booing. That is why they were booing even worse in the prior 3 games.

    Lastly, you rightly criticize stalling tactics by Brazil. But you do not criticize US dives. The US took almost 3 times as many unforced dives as Brazil. At one point in the 2nd overtime, 3 different US players took untouched dives in the penalty area in an attempt to get an undeserved penalty kick. The worst dive though came in the 1st half when Abby Wambach, a player known for her dives, took one with mininal touch. She fell to the ground screaming in agony. The ref gave a yellow card to the Brazilian player which affected that player’s defense for the rest of the match. Marta came over and called out Wambach’s repugnant, sleazy play. As you know playing soccer there is nothing worse than faking an injury with the intent of getting another player carded. It is the lowest of the low and while some players make a career out of it, most frown upon it. It is one of the reasons Christiano Ronaldo is so despised on the international stage. A gutless, craven propaganda fueled ESPN said nothing.

    I came in rooting for the USA. By the end, I was so appalled by the commentators and the USA’s foul heavy, dive heavy play I felt sick to my stomach. And no it was not due to drinking the koolaid.

    • You know what? I started to write a response, but I have one word for you: troll. I’m not even going to bother.

    • Actually… as someone who had been involved in soccer since the age of 3 (ODP, club, varsity, refereeing, coaching, rabid fan, etc), I can say that no one is really correct in their claims about the ref. The fact of the matter is, there is room for interpretation in FIFA law and the referee in this match made multiple calls which were incredibly strict against the US side.

      Rules for fouls in the box do give the benefit to the attacking side, however, as the challenge was shoulder-to-shoulder, with the Brazilian player not having real possession of the ball, both players are allowed to challenge. It could be interpreted as a foul (1:52:06), and obviously was, but it was a fairly conservative call to make. Again, they were side to side, and I dispute that it was a foul, not that a foul in the box should be anything other than a red card/PK. Rachel Buehler has just as much right to challenge for the ball, regardless of where it is, this isn’t basketball with a sacred area around the goal where interference is disallowed. Soccer allows for fair challenges, and the foul call was an overreaction. Buehler had already extended towards the ball at the same time as Marta, she wasn’t tackling from behind. Secondly, the encroachment by the US player in the ‘re-kick’ call was, firstly, not as egregious as you claim it to be (it was possibly a single step, as movement is allowed as soon as the PK taker’s foot touches the ball) and secondly something that happens on most PK’s, it is yet another very conservative call to make. This in addition to the still unexplained yellow cards; Hope seemed to get one for arguing the call, yet she wasn’t being obscene or inappropriate, merely acting as most players do in response to controversial calls. Shannon Box got a yellow card and then the US received possession, someone should maybe figure that one out.

      You entirely skipped the matter of the contested off-side on Marta’s goal. Please view ESPN3 at minute marks 02:26:05 to see the loss by the US of possession on an off-sides call that was actually level (thus not off-side) which lead to Marta’s goal at 02:26:57 (~91.40 in regulation time) which, as is shown (decisively) at 02:27:30, was OFF SIDE.

      The refereeing was inconsistent, that’s really all there is to it. Different people are going to interpret events differently, I felt that the Brazilian squads diving was worse, but of course both sides were doing it. The fact of the matter is, I viewed it as a story of triumph, wherein call after call came in against the US side and it would have been easy for them to give up, but they kept their heads and Rapinoe’s ball in was about as beautiful a delivery as I’ve seen in this World Cup. The crowd’s turning on Marta happened primarily after she made the goal that the fans viewed as something that shouldn’t have happened (I spoke with people in attendance at the match who agreed with this statement, fyi).

      Also, ESPN is an organization that needs a relationship with FIFA that isn’t entirely contentious. FIFA is an organization with remarkable levels of corruption, they are the opposite of transparent and their referees, even when wrong on replay, are never held accountable. FIFA supports their refs calls, even when wrong and they still haven’t allowed for any form of video/instant replay despite contested calls and bad refereeing being major players in many of their games, and especially in World Cup matches.

      Finally, sports, refereeing, opinion on player attitudes, are all going to be subjective. You disagreeing with Brittani does not mean that she ‘drank the kool-aid’ or that she is somehow incapable of independent thought. The fact that someone has the same opinion as an announcer does not mean that they didn’t formulate their own opinion based on the game itself and it’s insulting to imply otherwise. Calling people lemmings, and implying they are stupid for believing the referee made bad calls is just as insulting as what you claim ESPN was doing in ‘insulting’ the referee. They differed on the call, they didn’t call her names.

      It was a beautiful, dramatic game, and Wombach’s goal was an ebullient and inspiring moment of football, one I hope the 9 year old girls who I coach will take to heart. Bad calls will be made, matches will seem unfair, you will play at a disadvantage, but you continue fighting. You dig in, and you don’t give up, whether there are 30 minutes or 30 seconds left. I can only hope that they learn that lesson and hold it with them both on the pitch and off.

      • Thank you. Better than I would’ve done anyway. :) Honestly, all the bad calls did was serve to make the game for more exciting and triumphant when we did place that second goal. It was like, even with all the odds, calls, luck and everything stacked against us, we dug deep, didn’t give up and came out on top. It was fucking awesome and I don’t think I would’ve ran around my apartment like a banshee had the circumstances not been what they were.

        My emotions basically went like this: Happy we were ahead for the first half, but feeling we didn’t really earn it as it was an own-goal mistake by them. Confused about the re-kick. Was there a penalty so egregious that the ref wanted to take away an incredible save by Solo? (By the way, does a re-kick have to be an actual re-kick? Or is it totally allowed/normal for a new player to take the do-over? That seems kind of bullshit to me.) Then it moved to being downright pissed off because a) yeah, no shit they scored on a re-take and b) the more the match progressed, the more I saw bullshit calls, especially Marta getting that offside assist after we had just been called offside when we weren’t. So we were down and I was livid. Then, we moved into stoppage time and I was resigned to defeat. I held out hope up until that point but then I dealt with the fact that we lost on bad calls mostly in Brazil’s favor. The game was over. Then Wambach scores and I LOSE MY FUCKING MIND WITH GLEE AND EXCITEMENT. By that point, I was pretty sure we would win. Hope Solo? Fuck yeah. It was a rollercoaster ride worth the 2+ hours I sunk into it. It was fucking amazing. So at least in that regard thank you, inconsistently strict and annoying ref. I’m still reeling. I need to find a place with a torrent of the game or something. I will seriously sit and re-watch it. I don’t even watch sports.

        • I taped the re-airing last night so I could watch it again. During lunch I watched the overtime and penalties again and the interview with Wambach on First Take.

        • My emotions followed approximately the same path as yours. When we got that second goal I was fairly certain we had it in the bag, as the US Women’s side is just excellent at PK’s and, as you mentioned, Hope Solo.

          It is totally legal for them to switch out players. It happens and it’s almost expected… PK’s are mental games and taking one immediately after missing would rattle even world-class players present at the World Cup.

          ESPN3 works for re-watching (that’s where I got my specific time markers). It was a beautiful game, one that made me fall even more in love with soccer (and Megan Rapinoe).

          Even Marta said that the strength of the US is their mental game, the US side has a warrior mentality that’s pretty easy to trace back to Anson Dorrance. Abby actually reminds me somewhat of Michelle Akers in her mental toughness. The US warrior legacy is my favorite part of their game.

  29. Sunday’s game was nuts. I ran around my apartment jumping and clapping. It was an amazing game to sit through from start to finish. Just as I started to concede it was over, BAM. It was absolutely fucking amazing.

    On a shallow note, Hope Solo?! I’d happily make you Hope Pair. (See what I did? She doesn’t need to fly solo anymore? Yeah, forget it.) Alex Morgan — thank you for subbing in!

    Wednesday is on my google calendar. If anyone tries to schedule meetings for me during the game, I am telling them I am busy!

  30. “Also, these videos should answer a particular question you may or may not have about the players on the Women’s National Team” is, without a doubt, the single most perfect way to say that which we all wanted — nay, NEEDED — you to say. Brava.

  31. Lisa Anna, sadly your post is filled with a significant pro-USA slant that cannot be overcome. That you attempt to state that the foul on Marta in the box is a questionable call and that you attempt to defend encroachment as being okay is proof of said bias. These are not close calls and you should know better. As for the offsides call, the reason I did not bring it up is because I completely agree it was an offsides call. If you are a ref, you know how difficult that call is on a short pass but it was missed by the sideline ref. The sad thing is how many fans show a disinterest in what the correct call is and show more of an interest in distorting plays to fit their agenda, hiding their head in the sand at blatantly embarrassing tactics, and creating scenarios that did not happen. Only rabid fans of the US would dare to say that the US dives were not more excessive (by the way feel free to count the number of dives by the US compared to Brazil – it was indeed almost 3 times a much). As a fan of soccer, you would know the amount of disgust in international circles for Wambach in particular when it comes to diving.

    It is a shame sports brings out an atmosphere where people reject what is happening in favor of creating scenarios that defend their team and attack the refs and other team. I am a US fan but I know better than to disparage refereeing or turn another team into the villain, particularly when the other team, with the exception of some tactics late in the 2nd overtime, are playing a considerably cleaner game. The announcers were horrendous and to support their jingoistic distortion to the point of defending the ludicrous is sad.

    • ESPN never said they were wrong about everything. I went back and checked after I read your post and everything they have published now continues to call the refereeing questionable in Brazil’s favor. You lied.

      I don’t think booing Marta was appropriate, but it showed that the fans watching live saw what us (you excluded) saw. And Ericka’s stalling didn’t bug me that much because everyone does it (and the stoppage actually helped us). But to say that Brazil didn’t get the luckier end of bad refereeing is something I can’t objectively see. A step further, I can’t fathom defending the refereeing as being on the mark.

      The ref was overly meddlesome and wasted a lot of time lecturing players before resuming play, and she made a lot of bad calls that happened to have some very huge repercussions in favor of Brazil. When Brazil’s only two goals come directly from plays with wrong (offside/onside) or questionable (red car, re-kick) calls, and the U.S.’ two goals were clean with absolutely no controversy, how can you really say Brazil didn’t catch the luckier break? That’s a simply amazing point of view.

    • P.S. The re-kick call was almost definitely based on the lateral (but apparently ref perceived forward) movement of Hope Solo. The positioning of the referees would make it virtually impossible for them to catch the encroachment. But I don’t think this is going to change anything for you, so letting it go…

      Both sides had their problems, but we are going to continue to disagree on the refereeing and what is strict vs fair interpretation of FIFA law. That’s fine. I’m sorry you didn’t find the same joy in the US’s stunning victory that I did. I know how that goes, I really wanted my boys in Orange to win last summer (this despite the red-cardable cleat to the chest that slid past).

      The fact of the matter is, if you call every single illegal move in a game, there is going to be no flow to the game. Calls are subjective. Viewers opinions on who played better/deserved the win/played dirtier are subjective. This debate is the equivalent of debating what song is better. We aren’t going to agree.

      I also never claimed to be a rabid fan of the USA, I’m actually German despite living in the US, so my rabid fan status supports Germany (who are out) on the women’s side and the Netherlands (total soccer!!) and Germany on the men’s. I appreciate the spirit of the USA team in this game, just like I appreciated their spirit in the ’99 cup.

      Do you understand that not everyone is going to agree with you and that viewing sports/forming opinions on things like who played ‘dirtier’ is subjective? Someone disagreeing with you doesn’t make them incapable of independent thought (which you seem to be claiming of both Brittani in your earlier comments and fans in general). Nor is my disagreeing with your opinion sad or ludicrous. People take their biases/opinions with them everywhere, I’m big enough to admit that, but it seems as though you are claiming some sort of status as being above that. The arbiter of soccer and reality in general, perhaps. You viewed the game as one way, and I viewed it in another. You do you, as my ‘Straddlers say. Your personal reality shapes the world you live in… just like mine does.

      Can we just let this go? Can we please just agree to disagree? I really enjoyed the match, like I enjoy all football matches. I don’t think I’m going to sway your opinion, nor are you going to sway mine. So I’m done here… but maybe in the future you could try to be more constructive and not attack people for holding opinions that differ from yours? Conversations will be much more constructive.

      I hope you enjoy the rest of the matches more than this one because football is the beautiful game (or Jogo Bonito as the Brazilians say), and it should be enjoyed.

  32. I about cried in joy when Krieger put away her penalty. I had to call and tell my mom because she was driving somewhere and missed the end of overtime and the penalties, I may have deafened her with my screaming. Watching Wambach’s goal still gives me chills.

    The alternative haircut pair had an epic hug with the legs when Rapinoe launched herself into Wambach’s arms.

  33. So, we’re still not talking about our hijab-wearing Muslim sisters who’ve been banned from playing, eh?

    I, as a lady-jock, wholeheartedly support the right of my fellow athletes to join in the game in uniforms that are appropriate to game itself and their religious/cultural backgrounds. Sport and competition has to be rooted in fairness otherwise playing loses all meaning. To work so hard for (little) funding and attention women’s sports get, to have it covered in all the major media and then to stomp on the hard work of the athletes on the Iranian and Jordanian teams? That’s messed up.

    There’s nothing fair about Islamophobia (recognizing that a variety of women’s head coverings reach across many cultures and religions, but FIFA’s rulings affect Muslim women very specifically) and it has no place in sports.

      • Thanks, Brittani! I’m glad it was discussed, if only briefly. I feel like the ban taints the integrity of the competition, which affects every athlete at the World Cup, not just the women excluded for wearing hijab.

        Thanks for your coverage, it’s helpful to keep up with things while also keeping a TV out of my apartment! Looking forward to hearing from you more on both the tourney and FIFA’s bullshit.

    • Is FIFA wrong, or is Iran wrong for having strict dress codes for women? I think the women are caught in the middle of something they shouldn’t be, but I think it’s wrong for governments to dictate proper dress codes for women. I’m sorry some cultures can’t handle the fact that women are beautiful and would just prefer women cover everything that makes them, well, women… but I don’t think it’s FIFA’s job to bend to the ultra-conservative laws of some country that happens to be Muslim. Iran should just let the women play without headscarves. Like I said, I don’t like the women being punished for adhering to this cultural norm — if I lived in Iran, I’d probably be wearing coverings (and not “be” gay) too — but I think ultra-conservative countries that treat women as second-class citizens should be challenged for their practices. They should progress, we shouldn’t regress. But then part of me says, is the FIFA World Cup going to make Iran re-evaluate it’s long-standing beliefs? Is it fair to punish these women? Would letting them see how Western cultures treat women be good? I don’t know. But I think calling FIFA’s stance “Islamophobia” isn’t really fair.

      • I just looked into it and the Iranians and FIFA had reached a compromise where the Iran players would cover their hair, but not their ears and necks. It appears they defied the compromise and insisted on wearing full headscarves and thus withdrew their bid to play. It appears Ahmadinejad is politicizing the issue, claiming that FIFA wants to make it impossible for Muslims to play. I guess I should expect no less from him. He is punishing these poor women by being unwilling to stick to a compromise.

      • I agree! I think any state (or corporation. Not that the two are even vaguely separable at this point) is wrong to infringe on an individual’s right to wear what they please. Many women wear it for a variety of reasons and may go through portions of their lives where they do and don’t wear hijab. They may also not want to compromise their individual beliefs and comfort levels by not wearing hijab.

        Here’s where I disagree with in the tone of your response: I think it’s problematic to frame this as a West-superior, Middle-east/Muslim dominant nation inferior situation. For one thing, you’ve assumed that Iranian women who wear hijab have no agency and that every Muslim woman wears it because she has to, not because she chooses to. I dunno, that’s not even the most problematic thing you’ve said.

        “I’m sorry some cultures can’t handle the fact that women are beautiful and would just prefer women cover everything that makes them, well, women…” Blergh. I think that’s pretty fucked up thing to say. I mean, how do you know I’m not of one of “those cultures?” Wouldn’t that be enormously insulting? How do you know I’m not a rockin’ Muslim, hijab-wearing feminist dyke who chose to wear it as a signifier of my culture and religious beliefs? When it’s an us/them thing, we other folks and dehumanize them. It’s not a healthy practice and certainly hasn’t served the queer community well when that rhetoric has been wielded against us.

        The other thing is, I think Western cultures are completely and utterly incapable of coping with the incredible variation and depth that is women’s beauty (indeed, human beauty) and has ridiculous and stringent expectations as to what it is to be beautiful. That’s basic Women’s Studies 101. Butch women, queer women, trans women, racialized women, fat women, women with disabilities have HUGELY low visibility in terms of being read in Western culture as “beautiful.” If these women are being used to portray beauty, it’s in extremely specific, often oppressive/exoticising contexts. For example, women of colour are often pictured in ads as “animalistic” and hyper-sexualized. Trans women are only beautiful if they “pass” as a ciswoman. I think what Western culture demands of women aesthetically and names “beautiful” is really fucked up.

        Speaking from the white, Canadian experience my privilege rests on the subjugation of a lot of people, including folks in the Middle East. Let me tell you, we have some shit to work on. My government won’t recognize water as a human right and has actively defunded and underfunded just about every major women’s, immigrant, and social service in existence. Aboriginal women and sex workers have disappeared in hugely alarming numbers and the major organization who advocated for investigations and supported the families just had their funding revoked (Sisters in Spirit) by the federal government. Many Aboriginal reserves are without clean running water and lack accessible healthcare, let alone abortion services or stable, supportive preventative healthcare. Transfolk have had rights and funding for surgery revoked in the healthcare system and Alberta teachers have to get permission from parents to discuss any aspect of queer history or queerness in general. Parents can pull their kids from the class or file a human rights complaint if the teachers don’t send that permission slip. In Canada, roughly 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Unpacking that stat sees about 60-70% of women with disabilities, aboriginal women and women of colour being assaulted in their lifetime. Things are not peachy-keen for Western women, especially those facing multiple marginalizations.

        I’m hella reluctant to point fingers at “other cultures” without a) looking at the BS that’s happening here at home and b) understanding the role my ancestors and current government played/plays in the colonialist history in the middle east. In fact, I don’t think I would.

        When FIFA hasn’t banned players crossing themselves before they do a penalty kick or kissing the crucifix they wear around their neck or tattoos with religious significance to the player, it becomes obvious to me that Muslim women are being targeted. Whether it’s Ahmedinejad or FIFA telling women what to do with their cultural or religious expression, it’s wrong. And like, I totally respect that women in Iran face a lot of bullshit. Trufax. But like…women everywhere suffer. That’s why we invented feminism. It’s meant to take care of that nasty patriarchy thing that takes away our autonomy and agency. Finger-pointing and us/them attitudes erodes solidarity and stops us from working on cleaning up our own act.

        Check out Right 2 Wear. It’s Muslim sisters doin’ it for themselves, and claiming space and agency around what they wear and why. http://www.facebook.com/groups/120307321391090

        • “For one thing, you’ve assumed that Iranian women who wear hijab have no agency and that every Muslim woman wears it because she has to, not because she chooses to. ” Actually, no I didn’t. Maybe I wasn’t clear, but said it was a “cultural norm” that I can understand these women feel comfortable with. It is mandated and law, but it’s also a norm that these women adhere to because that’s just all they know. That’s fine and I never said it wasn’t. But if the rules of FIFA stated that they couldn’t wear the headscarves and their government allowed it and gave them the go-ahead, I suspect these women would just deal without the head coverings. The fact is, and as Ahmedinejad has made very clear, these women are not allowed to play without the head coverings. They are forbidden. I think the problem in this specific instance is the law and not the cultural norm.

          Accusing me of “dehumanizing” Muslim women is inflammatory and just not true. I don’t doubt women may choose to wear headscarves for religious tradition. But I also don’t doubt that by law women are forced to wear them because Iranian leadership has mandated their culture treat female sexuality as obscene and frankly too much for men to handle. It’s blatant sexism and oppression and I don’t have a problem with FIFA taking issue with this. If the Israeli team tried to rock stars of David on their uniforms, I’m pretty sure FIFA would forbid that too. I feel like you’re telling me its wrong to think Ahmedinejad’s restrictions on women are horseshit and that we shouldn’t cave to them. Sorry, but that’s not going to happen. Iranian women were finally allowed to attend soccer matches in 2006. Before that, they were banned outright. That’s fucking insane. And we have an instance here, one very specific instance that we are discussing, where religious expression happens to coincide as a symbol of horrible, tragic oppression of women.

          If you want to get into Western of standards of beauty, which isn’t even REMOTELY related to the discussion of whether Iranian soccer players need to wear full head coverings or not, then maybe you should look for a discussion actually, you know, discussing that topic.

  34. Also the 2010 Youth Olympic Iranian team wore headgear that didn’t cover their necks so since they were allowed to play with that I should think the womens soccer team should be allowed too.

    • I agree. But the adult team had reached an agreement with FIFA to wear headgear that didn’t cover their necks — they were going to do exactly what the youth team did — and then backtracked on it, insisting upon full cover after the issue had been dealt with. See my reply to my own comment.

  35. the us vs. brazil game just showed that anything can happen in this sport. it started with a rare goal in like the first 3 minutes and ended with a goal in the last minute. you literally have to play this game from start to finish. im super pumped for the next game!

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