When Landon Donovan scored the winning goal in last year’s World Cup against Algeria, it was for naught as they never made it to the quarterfinals. Today, Abby Wambach helped send the USA to the medal round of a wide open 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Her 122nd minute goal tied the game at 2-2 and the US predictably won in a penalty shootout over a listless looking Brazil side.
The US deserved the win as they arguably outplayed Brazil and that includes when they were reduced to 10 players after Rachel Buehler was sent off for denying Marta a goal-scoring opportunity, thus conceding a penalty. Overall the refereeing was terrible and it has been this way the entire tournament. The only positive refereeing decision was that Hope Solo’s penalty save having to be re-taken in the 65th min was not because she moved off her line, but Christie Rampone clearly encroached in the penalty box before contact was made, so no controversy anymore. But otherwise blown offside calls, questionable foul decisions, corner kicks incorrectly given, etc. made this a very edgy game with no real flow to it. Luckily it didn’t take away from the fantastic drama in extra time.
I’ve never watched the Women’s World Cup this intently before hence I don’t know much about all of the teams, but nonetheless it’s been very entertaining and the women’s game has shown marked improvement. The days of the USA and Germany dominating anyone they play is over and while the US should be the favorite to win the World Cup with the Germans and Brazilians out, they should not overlook France at all on Wednesday.
Well done to the US ladies and thank you Ian Darke for being a better announcer than any of ESPN’s dreadful American play-by-play guys. Now if only someone can get Julie Foudy to stop talking…..