In case you’re not on board with the nauseating back-and-forth on the Olympic women’s semifinal, I’ve devised a kind of argumentative flowchart to keep you up-to-date. Here goes.
Canada: Norwegian referee Christina Pedersen cost Canada the game by giving an indirect free kick because Erin McLeod held the ball for ten seconds. No one gives that call!
USA: Wait, are you insinuating the USA didn’t win on merit alone? Hold on a second. AHA! McLeod received a time-wasting warning ahead of time! Either, depending on whom you believe, from Team GB, or at half time from a linesman.
Canada: Yes, but why didn’t she receive a yellow card instead?
USA: That doesn’t matter. The indirect free-kick rule is in the Laws of the Game. She was right to make it, regardless of its rarity. The ref was forced to give her a meaningful punishment for trying to break the rules.
Canada: But Abby Wambach counted out seconds to the ref every time McLeod held onto the ball!
USA: That’s called simple gamesmanship. All players argue to the ref for their advantage. It’s how you win games.
Canada: Even so, that hand ball call was bogus.
USA: No it wasn’t.
USA: Besides, you can’t know the future. The USA might have equalized anyway.
Canada: But to say it had no impact on the final result is disingenuous.
USA: Okay. In any case, your entire argument is moot because Melissa Tancredi didn’t receive a red card for stamping on Carli Lloyd. She received seven fouls in that game, but only one yellow card. She is a thug, and had she been sent off, the US would have won easily.
Canada: Yes, but that’s saying it was a stamp and not her trying to disentangle herself from Lloyd to free herself up for a scoring opportunity.
USA: But she clearly stepped back with the intention to cause harm.
Canada: But she didn’t look down.
USA: Peripheral vision.
Canada: It’s just an animated GIF of a YouTube video.
USA: FIFA should suspend Tancredi for that.
Canada: But the fact they didn’t is perhaps evidence that they don’t think it was intentional. And there were lots of instances where the Norwegian ref didn’t give Canada an advantage. Like not giving a penalty for Rapinoe’s hand-ball in the first half.
USA: Yes, but in that instance Rapinoe’s hand was low and locked against her body, whereas the handball against Marie-Eve Nault was called with her hands and arms up.
Canada: Yes, but there were instances of Americans doing nasty things to Canadian players.
USA: Really? Do you have GIFs of them?
USA: Thought so. See? Neither team had an unfair advantage.
Canada: Yes, the US did, because of the rare indirect free kick call that wasn’t given.
USA: We already dealt with that. Plus Tancredi.
Canada: But a red card for a player doesn’t have the same impact as two dodgy calls in a row.
USA: But we already acknowledged it was a handball.
Canada: Well, it was inconclusive.
USA: Anyway, what are we talking about again?
Canada: I think something about how both teams are heroes.
USA: Right, and how the Canadian women were whiners after the game.
Canada: Yes, but mostly against the Norwegian ref.
USA: Yeah, but implying the US didn’t win on merit. They had all those leads.
Canada: Yes, but you’re the best women’s soccer team in the world. Small calls count for everything. The Norwegian ref ruined the game.
USA: So your beef is with her then, I guess.
Canada: Yeah, I guess.
USA: Not really us, unless you claim a pro-USA conspiracy, which is silly.
Canada: Yeah, because you guys are clearly awesome at soccer. Way better than us, normally.
USA: Thanks. Hey, let’s make out.