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.

Canada: Okay.

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?

Canada: Uhhh.

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.

Canada: Okay.


Comments (31)

  1. America, fuck yeah!

    yeah, pretty good consolidation of the worldwide tit for tat.

    did anyone see that Simon Whitfield crashed his bike into some Norwegian? didn’t happen but the twitter said it did.

  2. no one is gonna read this stupid post

  3. WHY?!

    Why’s did you do that?!

    Why did I start reading it?!

    (Backs away slowly and calmly)

  4. this is a true story. I’m getting so much action talking about women’s olympic football

  5. When the American player was counting the seconds for the referee, why didn’t the ref stop the game and give her a yellow card for trying to influence the referee?

    • Oops! Missed that one. I’ll go back and get Canada to say that to USA.

    • “Yellow Card” for Barrie for trying to influence the blog.

    • Actually, the FIFA Laws of the Game training indicates that you don’t start counting seconds until the keeper has recovered from her save. You are also encouraged to keep in mind that the goalkeeper is also to be allowed yards of space form opposing players from which to make her kick, which is rarely the case within 6 seconds, and to warn the keeper to hurry up at the time.

      Time wasting IS also a yellow card, and if that was the call, it should have been made.

      A wall still has to be 10 yards away, even on an indirect free kick in the box, so ALL of those defenders should have been standing on the goal line or pretty damn close to it, so THAT was done incorrectly.

      A handball in the box IS a penalty shot, but players are allowed to make “Defensive reactions to protect themselves from the ball”. In the case of women, the face or the breast is considered a defensive “region”, so instinctive moves in those direction to stop an incoming ball are considered acceptable as they are a “Natural position”, and a handball is a handball when the arms or hand is not in a natural position.

      You can quote the Laws of the Game all day long and find a MILLION flaws with what took place. You can do this to any ref in any game. In this instance, you can point out many MORE glaring criticisms than in most.

      HOWEVER, at the end of the day, FIFA ALWAYS stands behind the ruling made by the official on the field, for better or for worse. The Hand of God, the Hand of Fraud, and the match fixing scandals that have taken place, in every case, FIFA shrugged it’s shoulders and said it’s the ref call, because in EVERY LAW, you will see the words:

      “If, in the opinion of the referee”

      The ref is entitled to her opinion and FIFA stands by it,

      As a referee myself, I have a responsibility not to openly criticize one of my colleagues, but I can say this much. Every referee makes mistakes. We all blow calls. The ones who don’t, don’t make any calls at all, and they’re the worst of us and don’t get very far. Sometimes, the pressure of an assignment weighs on you and you feel yourself being pulled in one direction or another, and staying objective is difficult.

      But that’s what you get paid for. When you cease to be objective and you cannot have the Amnesiac’s memory and blind devotion to your parameters for controlling that game, then you haven’t given your best. There are three teams on the field; the home team, the away team, and the officiating team. Only one of those teams is expected never to make mistakes. They don’t get awards. They don’t get medals. They don’t get glory or fame. They get the responsibility of making the right decision and being invisible as a result, or the consequence of making the wrong one and getting all the vile vitriol that comes as a result.

      That being said, anyone who is not willing to accept that consequence from the beginning should never wear that patch on their chest. Because, in my opinion, being a FIFA level match official is far more difficult than being a professional footballer. Being an honest and skilled one is even harder. The Officiating team had a rough day at the office, and that’s unfortunate for the players, most notably the Canadian team, but, even though we are trained and we work hard NOT TO, officials do make mistakes at times.

      But, luckily for us, those mistakes are all “A matter of opinion”, and FIFA’s Laws protect officials wonderfully by taking that into consideration and stating every Law by prefacing it with “If, in the opinion of the Referee”. So, despite all OUR opinions, FIFA decided beforehand it was HER opinion that mattered, and that’s the one they will go by, for better or for worse.

      It is what it is

      • Well said Ghett0. Very well written comment mate…good to see after a string of nasty posts about Pederson. I am a football referee myself and agree with all your sentiments. I try never to talk badly about a refereeing colleague either because there are so few of us football officials compared to footballers.

        I agree Pederson had a bad day at the office. But what I am pissed off about is not the calls she made but how unsporting Wambach was by counting the seconds as McLeod held the ball in Pederson’s ear (she went on record saying she did it 5-7 times). Plus saying it’s ok to do that because she’s competitive and will win at any cost. Plus Hope Solo running her mouth off after the match about Sinclair to the press and Twitter. I think Solo is bitter because she got burned easily by Sinclair three times on Monday. I’m sorry but if FIFA is investigating Sinclair and Tancredi for “brining the game into disrepute” by their post match comments, then why isn’t FIFA investigating Wambach or Solo for their comments/actions.

        • Solo’s comment on Twitter:
          “Ive said it all along…Sinclair could be the best player in the world. My hat goes off to her and the Canadian team.”
          What a burn.

      • If you are a referee as you claim Ghett0, you should know that time wasting IS NOT a yellow card offence. Delaying the restart of play is worthy of a YC, but seeing as the play isn’t dead when she is holding the ball, just the IFK is the appropriate action.

  6. To clarify, I was upset with you repeating the infinitely repetitive discussion over this match in it’s most tedious and drawn out form and repeating the infinitely repetitive discussion over this match in it’s most tedious and drawn out form.

    Now that I’ve read the happy ending I do get your point, which is quite true, and the reason I didn’t actually break anything on Sunday.

  7. So, Hu is on first??

  8. USA have no class & never win on merit! Canadian girls have made their Country Proud!!!

    • The Canadian girls played like vicious thugs. You’re really proud of that? Not what I expect from Canadians.

    • As a USA citizen and soccer fan, referee and coach I can not disagree with your comment more. Had you said Canada deserved to win I would agree. As many times as USA have beaten canada they have never deserved it, that is pure fiction.
      The lack of class was shown by your coaches pregame comments and all the ugly fouls, particularly by Tancredi stomping on Lloyds head.
      The game was one of if not the best soccer match I have ever watched. USA must be doing some things correctly, didn’t 9 of your starting 11 play college soccer in USA.

      Solo said Sinclair is the best player in the world. and Solo is a bit of a stuck up broad. Wambach complimented Sinclair as well.

  9. My conversation with an American ended with a punch in the face. We can’t all be so lucky.



    ANSWER: 4-3-3-3


    People shouldn’t feel bad about getting on a ref’s back for making bad mistakes. THEY SHOULD GET ON A REF’S BACK FOR MAKING BAD MISTAKES.

    Whether it’s a team mate, opponent, or ref, if someone makes a mistake YOU NEED TO LET THEM KNOW. In the case of a team mate, it’s done constructively. In the case of an opponent it’s done degradingly. In the case of a referee it’s done mockingly. =)

    • Does that mean the fourth official was neutral in this game?

      • Nuts…I hadn’t thought of that!!

        Well, since you’ve brought it up! I guess the formation could’ve looked something close to :

        4-4-4-2 =)

  11. This is the world of sports we live in ..honour, respect and outcome based on merit are long gone…the new age athlete must find a way to win at any cost….even if it mean’s influencing an official on and off the field….want to put respect back into soccer..use the technology…for now we see everthing for what it is….however – sooner or later they will find ways to tamper with the 10 second broadcast delay….if you believe otherwise…you are a fool….this is the world we live in …cheat’s, liars, and so on …..why bother…..continue spending countless hours watching a false outcome…..

  12. the game was unfair any way Canada SHOULD get a rematch against the USA I’m am very unhappy and wondering if any calls were right. that ref SHOULD get fired and Canada SHOULD be in the GOLD MEDAL GAME because of the ref’s unfairness. the USA don’t even deserve a medal they didn’t even won the game fair and square the ref made them win

  13. CANADA VS usa, MAN OF THE MATCH GOES TOOOOOOO….THE REFEREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




  14. Well someone’s clearly biased….. As a third party observer I can say that Canada would easily have won that game if it wasn’t for the ref. and if the US was the “best team” why was it such a struggle to get ahead? And lastly, you say the Canadians whined about losing the game but imagine if the US lost… They would treat as equivalent as a crime against humankind….

  15. What many are failing to acknowlege… Pedersen did not score the winning goal in extra time.

  16. I can’t stand all this boo hooing from the refs out there about being critisized for making game changing mistakes. Why is it that the only people in the sporting world who are seemingly protected from any kind of critiquing of their play are the officials? Players, coaches, and managers are routinely condemmed for their mistakes/poor performance by other players, other coaches, other managers and by the fans, and in some cases lose their jobs because of it. However In the case of referee’s anyone other than a fan who critisizes them is facing possible fines/suspensions. I don’t think that it’s appropriate to openly disresepect match officials during the game, but if after the fact you feel and can demonstrate that the officials screwed up then they as others in the sporting world should be open to being critisized for their performance…by anyone.

  17. The ‘Rules’ are actually called ‘Laws’ and are available here, together with FIFA’s ‘Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees’:

    The ‘Law’ for the goalkeeper keeping possession for more than 6 seconds is covered under Law 12 (page 35 of the above publication), from which it can clearly be seen that no warning or ‘caution’ is required. It could even be argued, successfully, I believe, that to do anything other than award an indirect free kick is contrary to the Laws. Some pundits even say that is why the Law is rarely enforced, because the penalty is so harsh.

    Now was it an unusual call, I believe the answer is yes. Was it a legitimate call? I believe it was. Was it applied fairly? I do not believe so, the US ‘keeper kept the ball for longer than 6 seconds in her possession shortly after the incident and was not penalized, is this fair application of the ‘Law’ or is it selective? Did the ref. have her eyes shut all that time, or was she playing favourites? If you are going to be strict, to be fair, you have to be strict with everyone.

    Now on to what really irks me, the taking of the free kick. This is covered on page 125 of the above publication. Kicking the ball at an opponent during the correct execution of a free kick is allowed provided it is not ‘careless’, ‘reckless’ or ‘using excessive force’, the FIFA definitions of these terms are given on page 111 of the above publication. It is my contention that the US player who executed the free kick did it in a manner that was at the very least ‘reckless’ and very likely qualified for description (using the FIFA definition) of ‘using excessive force’. Both should have resulted in a free kick to the opposition with a caution (yellow card) for the former and sending off (red card) for the latter. ‘Careless’ play only requires a free kick. Did the referee take any of this into consideration? I do not think so; I believe that the US player who took the free kick did so as hard as she could (or very close to it) at the stationary defending players without regard to the possible injury she could cause to those players. That being said ‘Playing the ball in a dangerous manner’ (page 115 of the above publication) should, in my opinion, also apply to this situation but does not because it only applies to a player ‘trying’ to play the ball.
    Now to the corner kick in the 90th minute. To be out of play the entire ball has to be outside the line, was it? I do not know. On the replay I saw the bottom of the ball cleared the line but I could not be sure if the entire ball did before a player who had left the field of play, without, as far as I can ascertain, the referee’s permission, kicked it. That is a yellow card offence in itself (page 36 of the above publication) never mind trying to play the ball from that position as was then done. Still think Pedersen is competent, fair and unbiased?

    Just some of my thoughts and observations on the procedure, I would like to be able to call it a game, but the overall performance of the person appointed as a referee makes that impossible. That was the worst performance of a so-called referee in a high-level football game (yes I am a Brit. and it is football to anyone outside N. America) that I have ever seen, and I am now pushing 70 so I have seen a few ‘bad-uns’. It was at only about 5 minutes into the game, when the Canadian player gave the US player a ‘piggy back ride’, that I remarked to my wife that the Canadians were not only playing the US team but the referee as well. I know there were missed calls by the so-called referee that may have benefited the US side had they been made but this, in my opinion, only further solidifies the evidence that Ms Pedersen is, at the very least, incompetent, or perhaps something even worse. Be strict by all means, it will, in my opinion, ‘spoil’ the flow of the game but should it be applied fairly there is little room for complaint.
    Would it have made any difference to the outcome of the game if had been officiated fairly? I do not know, the teams were, in my opinion, very close ability wise. However now look at the facts, prior to this game, no team had scored against the US, Canada scored three times. I know the US scored four but one of those was the result of an ‘unusual’ decision followed by complete disregard for the Laws of The Game (just my opinion). Therefore discounting that one goal we have a draw. Now imagine the frustration even the slowest witted, and most generous minded Canadian players must have felt when they eventually realised, and at the end of the ’incident’ there could be little doubt, that they were also ‘playing the ref.’ Additionally, at the end of the ‘incident’, despondency would, I believe not be unnatural together with the fear that they may be penalized for some other little enforced law. On the other side think of the ‘lift’ the US players must have had when they realised that they were unlikely to be penalized, the handball in the US penalty area shortly before the ‘incident’, the ‘incident’ itself, and the flagrant breaking of the six second Law by the US ‘keeper shortly after the incident all would contribute to this and must have ‘knocked the stuffing’ right out of the Canadian girls, but they still tried despite, the by now, blatantly obvious odds against them. My hat goes off to them!

    Please note I am not taking anything away from the US team, they also played hard and well and took full advantage of every opportunity they had but they must surely wonder what the result would have been with fair officiating. To those who say Canada would have won I say why are you not billionaires? I believe it was to close to call.

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