Justice - we won Bronze! 0
MIKE RIDEWOOD COC Photo Diana Matheson of Canada celebrates her game winner against France in the bronze medal soccer match at the 2012 London Olympic Games, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012.
Canada’s women soccer team dug deep, really deep, (exhausted physically and emotionally) to bring the bronze medal home for Canada. The first medal for Canada in a summer team sport since the 1936 Berlin Games, when the Canadian men’s basketball team won silver.
The game was in many ways a complete contrast to the US / Canada semifinal. This third place match was a more defensive game, slower in some ways, with Canada unfortunately giving the ball away far too easily, carrying the ball for too long and then finally losing it, withstanding continued onslaughts by the French team on Erin McLeod in the Canadian goal, but in the end it was the diminutive fireball, Diana Matheson who scored the only goal of the game in the 92nd minute to give Canada the bronze medal. Diana Matheson’s face immediately after scoring the goal was one of such incredible joy and pleasure, a photographer’s delight. Christine Sinclair was practically in tears when being interviewed. What these women have done for Canada, for soccer and for women’s sports in general, is amazing. And so much is owed to John Herdman whose coaching has brought the women to this level.
But going back, the semifinal match between Canada and the US had everything: ebb, flow, some additional flow, an added soupcon of ebb, controversy, drama, joy, despair, extra-time tension, and goals, goals, goals. The Americans came from behind three times to win 4-3 in overtime. Canada’s indomitable Christine Sinclair helped herself to an amazing hat trick, one of the great individual performances of these games in any discipline, and not truly acknowledged by our media. Still, she found herself on the losing side. This was mainly due to the relentless rampaging of Megan Rapinoe, and a last-nanosecond winner by Alex Morgan, but a wee bit can be attributed to the Norwegian referee Christiana Pedersen, who has since quietly gone back home to the fiords.
With Canada leading 3-2, and Pedersen, having given no earlier verbal warnings, decided to penalize Canadian keeper Erin McLeod for holding on to the ball for too long.
Once the goal keeper has taken possession of the ball with their hands they have six seconds to release the ball back into play.
The referee, in general, will not be counting and will verbally warn the goal keeper anyway before taking action. If it continues, then play will be stopped and an indirect free kick will be awarded to the opponents at the location of the infraction. Given that nobody in any form of professional football has been penalized for this since the days crossbars were made out of sticks, balls were made out of pigs bladders , and women players were kept locked in the basement , this was a peculiarly harsh decision. Especially as Rapinoe’s subsequent free kick led to the late penalty which denied Canada victory. And now FIFA and the IOC are saying that they are going to investigate comments made by the Canadian coach and players after the game. How ridiculous! Typical FIFA. Well, bring it on, and at the same time take a look at some of the video and investigate the strange decisions made by the referee, which at the end of the day costs us the game.
Amazingly, close to some 4 million in Canada watched this particular game, second only in the Olympics to Usain Bolt’s 100m sprint. This is not far off the numbers who watched the last Grey Cup, although you won’t find that mentioned by our so called sports writers. And, oh boy, the comments on the chat lines! They were absolutely lit up. And even our beloved leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper got into the act with a comment. The power of this beautiful game, soccer…never, never, underestimate it.
The Ottawa Fury are the champions
The jewel of the W-League has finally found its crown. The Ottawa Fury are W-League champions! This is the top level of women’s soccer in North America. It has been thirteen years in the making, but after four trips to the championship game the Ottawa Fury have, at long last, captured the W-League title after downing the Pali Blues from California 4-3 on penalty kicks, after the two sides played to a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes. It was a most entertaining and exciting game. Fury defender Kathyrn Williamson was named MVP of the finals.
And talking of the Olympics...
Usain Bolt (yes, that Usain Bolt) will get the chance to fulfill one of his sporting dreams after being given a “trial” with English Premier League football club Manchester United.
Bolt discussed his love for soccer after his sensational performance in the men’s 100m final on Sunday, insisting he has the physical attributes to make it as a professional player.
United has responded by giving him the chance to prove his talents following the Olympics, with a source telling Yahoo Sports that the Jamaican superstar will be invited to the team’s training base in Carrington, a suburb of Manchester.
“Just like everyone else, the players are huge fans of Bolt and have massive respect for him,” the source said. “We would love to have him along.”
United’s veteran defender Rio Ferdinand contacted Bolt through Twitter on Tuesday to offer congratulations on his Olympic record triumph in the 100m.
“If you want that trial at Man Utd shout me,” Ferdinand Tweeted. “I’ll speak to the boss. Well done in 100m.”
Bolt replied: “After the Olympics we work on that … lol … thanks man.”
As it turns out, United’s marketing staff is already working on the trial. The primary incentive is not, perhaps surprisingly, the positive publicity that having pictures of Bolt in a United shirt would bring. Well, it would sell a ton more shirts for a start!
Remember, whatever your sport, to win the game is great, to play the game is greater, but to love the game is the greatest of all.
If you have any comments on the beautiful game please contact me at email@example.com , or call 613-587 4856.
Phil Cottrell is a regular contributor to The Daily Observer from his tranquility base in Whitewater