Sunday, July 10, 2011

I love the game, just not the heart attacks.

Also titled: I thought the men's game against Algeria last year was stressful!!

Holy. CRAP.

Y'all, it's no secret that soccer is to my family what American football is to most families in this country.  We're in the middle of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.  Today, the US played Brazil.  Brazil has a player who has won the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year five times in a row.  Needless to say, we knew we were in for quite a battle.  And not only was the Brazilian team lightning fast, we had a referee who was blatantly and ridiculously biased in her calls.  Here's how the game played out:

(For those who may not know, just in case, each half is 45 minutes technically, but the clock is not stopped at all, and any time wasted is added to the clock at the end of the half. If the score is tied at the end of the regulation 90 minutes (plus whatever ref-added extra time), there are two 15-minute overtime periods. If it is still tied after that, it goes to penalty kicks.)
  • 74 seconds into the game, Brazil scores on themselves (player Daiane).  The rest of the first half is scoreless. 
  • We enter halftime 1-0 and a statistic of 95% win when we're leading at halftime.
  • Of Brazil's 7 goals in this Cup before this game, 5 of them were scored in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but we hold them off.
  • At about 65 minutes, one of our players gets red-carded and thrown out of the game, on a call that every single person moderating the game agreed was a bad call.  US plays the entire rest of the game a man down, because when a player gets red-carded, you're not allowed to substitute in another player.
  • A minute later, the ref calls another totally fake foul, and Brazil is given a penalty kick.  Our goalie, Hope Solo (what a fitting name for a goalie, eh?), catches the ball, but the ref yellow-cards her for supposedly moving off the goalie line before the Brazilian player kicks (which, again, was a crap call, noted in review by the moderators), so they get a second shot.  They send up the 5-time World Player of the Year, Marta.  Hope misses that one.  The score is 1-1.
  • The rest of the second half is scoreless, so we enter overtime.
  • Two minutes into overtime, Marta scores again2-1 Brazil.
  • Throughout the overtime, Brazil becomes absurdly dramatic, throwing themselves on the ground, acting injured when they aren't.  One player goes so far as to get the medics to carry her off the field on a stretcher, turns the corner of the field, and gets off the stretcher and runs back on the field.
  • We reach the 120-minute mark still down 2-1, but because of Brazil's stupid time-wasting, the ref finally does something fair to the US team and adds three minutes of extra time to the clock. (Meanwhile, I have my head in my hands and am repeating "We're screwed." Oh, I of little faith...)
  • In the 122nd minute, Megan Rapinoe sets up the shot, and Abby Wambach makes a header into the goal.  Less than 90 seconds from being eliminated from the World Cup, we tie up the game.
  • Penalty kicks:
    1. US Shannon Boxx - good. Brazil Cristiane- good.
    2. US Carli Lloyd - good. Brazil Marta - good.
    3. US Abby Wambach - good. Brazil Daiane - bad.
    4. US Megan Rapinoe - good. Brazil Francielle - good.
    5. Last shot....we make it, and we win.  Ali Krieger kicks off the side of her foot and swoosh, IT'S IN!
Next game: Wednesday 11:30 am EST vs. France.  Now, if we hadn't won, I would've had no problem cheering for France, but we did.  France, you better bring it. It's ON. :D

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