US outlasts Brazil in World Cup match marred by referee and Brazil antics

Hope Solo comes up big for the US in penalty kicks

Three goals scored, and only the last should have counted. After regulation (2-2), and two 15 minute overtime periods, everything was decided by penalty kicks.

A game full of controversy, the United States put it all behind and shined in penalty kicks advancing to the semifinals 5-3.

How American.

The US played over 55 minutes down a player. The referee struggled to maintain control of the game throughout. And the numerous questionable calls.

In the 65th minute, the ref gave Rachel Buehler a red card for defending an attack but also forcing contact. A yellow card was warranted but a red card was over the top–especially for a player that hadn’t been whistled for fouls previously.

The first call was shocking, but that was trumped less than a minute later.

After handing Buehler a red card, putting the United States down a player the remainder of the game, US goalkeeper Hope Solo saved the penalty kick by Brazil star Marta. The ref this came in and said Solo moved off the line (forward, towards the ball), before the kick was fired. Unspeakable.

The law says, “The defending goalkeeper must remain on her goal line, facing the kicker, between the goal posts until the ball has been kicked.” She can move laterally, which is what she did.

What made it worse was the fact the US celebrated the save, rightfully so. Brazil then had another opportunity and sent it into the net. Tied at 1 and the US was down to just 10 players for the rest of the game.

Big events like this, the referees needs to realize this is a game about the two teams. Nobody tunes in to watch the referees. It’s about the players. The head ref inserted herself into too many situations where it was unnecessary.

Even the predominantly German crowd took notice and began cheering for the Americans. To be quite honest, the calls were a crock of crap.

Even the play-by-play announcer, Ian Darke, said at one moment in the 91st minute, “if you can work this out at home, please send in a postcard and we will figure it out.” You know it’s bad with the announcers begin criticizing.

That’s not all, it got even better in the second overtime period when a Brazil player BLATANTLY looked to the sidelines, got the signal, and dropped to the ground like she was beat up. For nearly two minutes she rolled on the grass in pain before finally being taking off in a stretcher.

This is the best part. After about 20 yards, the Brazil player  jumped off the stretcher and ran around to the bench. Whatever happened to character and integrity? Must not exist in soccer.

Giving everything they had to play against, the US could have blamed a loss on the referees. But they didn’t.

American Abby Wambach tied the game up at 2 in the 122nd minute in what will be a memorable moment in sports. Living in the moment.

“We never give up, we literally went to the final minutes and never gave up,” Wambach said in a postgame interview. How many goals did Hope literally save today. We can win this tournament.”

The US women were flawless at penalty kicks, booting them all precisely in the corners untouched. I’m not a big soccer but I watched EVERY minute. How can you not rally behind US who overcame challenges and thrived under pressure.

This is all very refreshing, in a time when other professional leagues can’t agree on terms to play moving forward.

For America.

Next up for the Americans will be France on Wednesday at 11:30 am EST on ESPN.

9 Responses to US outlasts Brazil in World Cup match marred by referee and Brazil antics
  1. Eric
    July 11, 2011 | 12:32 am

    This was the most memorable game in all of sports for three reasons: the incredible strength of character of all the US players to fight on and not give up, scoring in the last minute, and Solo with the spectacular PK save!!! Secondly, the single worst game of officiating I have ever seen – ever. The only other game in which the officiating was as bad was an Oregon football team a few years ago when they called a touch down for the opponent when it clearly was not (a year later – a year! – the official was removed from his position). But that game only compared to this game with respect to one, maybe two, calls – there were at least five
    1) Red Card (massive overkill) – this is positively mind-blowing – that a ref would kick a player out with 30 minutes or more in a world cup event for an infraction that was barely a yellow card.
    2) Hands (US)
    3) Off sides, unequivocally, and the sideline official had a clear line of sight to observe the infraction (Brazil)
    4) Encroachment (US – which is rarely called, and technically, it might not have been – the forward foot had not touched the ground)
    5) This is the single most appalling, clearly bogus ‘soccer flop’ I have ever seen – the Brazilian who, on command, as you say, just dropped to the ground and pretended to be hurt. There was not even another player nearby – she was standing all alone!! This was orchestrated through coaches, and needs to be investigated. She should have been red carded immediately. She should be kicked out of the game, or at least the coach who called for her to do it. This speaks volumes about the Brazilians – cheaters, whiners, poor sports – even Marta said that the crowd loved her even when they were booing her.

    I have got to think this was fixed. The calls were so blatantly bad, this is the only explanation. The Brazilian player who recovered so quickly. Basketball flops are getting more popular in other sports – ice hockey and now football. THE BRAZILIANS SHOULD BE ASHAMED!! OUTRAGEOUS!!

    • Scott Agness
      July 11, 2011 | 3:11 pm

      Great post Eric. The referee clearly had an off game, to be nice. So many controversial calls–that I think everyone did question her mentality.

      Brazil’s flops and poor behavior were so obvious–the worst being the stretcher incident. Absolutely embarrassing.

      I don’t know how they did it…but the confidence and determination of the Americans was too much.

    • greg
      July 12, 2011 | 1:54 am


      You make valid points but unfortunately direct red cards are not allowed to be issued for time wasting. yellow is all the referee can do within the laws of the game. The issue with the red card is unfortunate but debatable. If seen as a foul it has to be assumed its denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity considering the Brazilian was in the goal area. The issue I have with it is it just looked to me like two players fighting hard for a 50 50 ball and play should have continued. It’s unfortunate a referee may have one bad day and it tarnishes a career but that’s what happens. Unfortunately they can’t be subbed out like a player having an off day. That said, as a referee and player much of what happened was inexcusable and I don’t believe we will be seeing this referee for a while. I also agree with many of your other points, especially those regarding the awful displays of sportsmanship

  2. Rick
    July 11, 2011 | 1:34 am

    And Americans say they don’t love soccer. I was watching my twitter feed and it was just blowing up with anyone and everyone talking about the game.

    I guess we can all support the ole’ USA!

  3. Marshcroft
    July 11, 2011 | 4:09 pm

    I wish the ref had gone over to the Brazil manager at the end of the game and publicly demanded the money owed to her for trying to fix it, I can see Brazil now refusing to pay her for the outcome.

  4. Steve
    July 11, 2011 | 11:23 pm

    I don’t understand the opening sentence. Three goals scored… There were four. For the red card, the ref believed it was denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity (I happen to disagree). The number of prior fouls committed by the offender is irrelevant. In the 91st minute Ian Darke screwed up. Brazil committed a foul which the ref correctly called. The US player then lunged into a dangerous tackle. The ref got this right. Free kick to USA for the original foul and yellow card to USA for the dangerous lunge. Cristiane took the first penalty, not Marta. Was the penalty retake because of Hope Solo or encroachment by a defender?. It’s still not clear, but either call was dubious. US also got one big break when Carli Lloyd didn’t get a second yellow for deliberate handling. The ref had a poor game but made no more mistakes than the writer of this article!

    • Scott Agness
      July 11, 2011 | 11:44 pm

      First, it was three goals scored but the PK should have never happened in the first place if it wasn’t for the poor officiating.

      The penalty had to be on Hope Solo because she was issued the yellow card. And NO WAY she move doff the line. The US didn’t get one break. A deliberate handball on Brazil was not called.

      Thank goodness the US women worked their tails off and didn’t give up, allowing them to score in the final minutes. I just can’t stand it when a referee interjects into the game as much as she did. She reminded me of cbb ref Ted Valentine…it’s not about him!

      • Steve
        July 12, 2011 | 9:45 am

        The retaken penalty could have been for encroachment by a defender, if Solo got the card for dissent. I’d like to know the official explanation, but I doubt I will.

    • greg
      July 12, 2011 | 2:01 am

      Thank you! Someone noticed the fact the ref blew the whistle for an initial foul then the tackle after the fact was cleats up. I almost wrote Ian a postcard like he requested.

      On the other hand, Julie Foudey is clueless. Not only did she mess up the remaining time, twice, but also went on a rant about how the referee missed an obvious corner kick call and called it a goal kick. What actually happened was a foul was called, which apparently was not obvious to her when the restart was taken outside the goal area…

      Ok, my complaining is over. We won!

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