There was no more margin for error in today’s WWC quarterfinal game between the US and Brazil. The team that lost goes home, while the winning team books a ticket to the semifinals on Wednesday. Twitter and Facebook blew up as the match progressed and more and more fans logged on to see what was happening. In the end, there were more than a few heroes and a villain dressed as a referee.
Without going into analysis of each team’s line-up and plays, suffice it to say that this was an epic match. It was a roller coaster from start to finish and the U.S. team showed such heart that when the game finally played out to overtime and then penalty kicks it was sports drama at it’s best. Revenge, redemption and finally victory!
Truly, this match couldn’t have been scripted better. As expected, Abby Wambach and Hope Solo headlined the U.S. cast and Brazil’s Marta played a fitting antagonist. Solo had a series of AMAZING saves and when a big play is necessary, Wambach delivers. With the U.S. up by one point, defender Rachel Bueler received a red card in a somewhat questionable (but defendable) call. Brazil was given a free kick and once again, Solo made a BIG save. A celebration ensued but then – in a first act climax – the ref called a do-over. WTH? FIFA Law 14 says that the keeper cant’ step off the line before the kicker kicks. And instant replay after instant replay showed that Solo didn’t move a muscle. Yet Brazil got an extra kick and tied the score.
Second half ended in a tie and at the end of a 30 minute overtime, the score was 2-2. Final act was the ever dramatic penalty kicks (12 years to the day that the U.S. beat China in PKs) which went down to the wire.