I’ve lost my voice; it must be all the shouting for the Canadian girls in the soccer Olympic semi-finals and against the ref’s questionable calls. It was an exciting, tension-filled night (and, as a bonus, in one of the best stadia in the UK, Old Trafford, without having to watch Manchester United) and the girls did us all proud.
Christine Sinclair started off the scoring with an excellently executed move which gave the US goalie no chance. The US scored to level it in the second half. But Sinclair put us (Canada, that is, if you haven’t figured it yet!) back in the lead with an excellent header, and we were starting to believe.
Then the ref gave a very questionable call of ‘delay of game’ against the Canadian goalie and, inexplicably (to me), instead of the usual carding of the offender, awarded an indirect free kick to the US from about twenty yards from the goal. The ball was blasted into a Canadian defender, who had her arms tight against her chest and was turning away from the ball, and the ref called a handball penalty. Which, of course, the US capitalised on.
Without these two ‘strange’ calls, Canada would most likely be heading for the final game for the gold medal game. But I don’t blame the ref entirely – the Olympic Committee would much rather have a final with the US in it. (It’s about the money, stupid.)
Anyway, whining aside, the game went to extra time, tied at 2-2. Sinclair (again!) put Canada ahead but the US clawed their way back. And then scored again in the last few seconds of injury time, just when we were heading for penalty shots.
Heartbreak for our Canadian girls but they were true champions. They gave it everything they had and then some!
We hung around after the game and Nicolas got a picture with Sinclair, our hat-trick scorer. Although clearly upset, the Canadian team were still there for the fans. What a classy bunch!
One of Manchester’s finest, a cop on security detail, commiserated with us: “you were playing against a team with twelve players” he said.
Well, off to Stanage now. (For those of you who don’t know, Stanage is the best climbing cliff in the world. When Cloggy is wet!)