The United States and Canada met on the soccer pitch for the semifinal match-up at the 2012 Summer Olympics and — wow. It was an incredible game. It might as well have been subtitled Christine Sinclair vs. Megan Rapinoe (at least until the very end), as they scored nearly every goal for their respective countries.
The one-time teammates at the University of Portland combined for five goals — Sinclair became just the second woman to ever score three goals in one match against the U.S. The other regulation goal came from Abby Wambach on a penalty kick late in the second half. That penalty kick tied the match 3-3 and it stayed that way through regulation plus the 30 minutes of extra time.
But there is time added on to extra time and in the 123rd minute, a header by Alex Morgan (above, left) put the U.S. on top 4-3 and that was game about 45 seconds later. Morgan had not scored since the U.S. opening match against France.
Morgan tells NBC of the header, “I’m still in shock … I just got my head on it at the end, I didn’t even see it go in.”
The game was not without controversy, as the ref called a time-wasting penalty on the Canadian goalie and awarded a free kick to the U.S. Then on the free kick, a handball was called on Canada when the ball struck her arms and a penalty kick was awarded, the aforementioned Wambach penalty kick that tied the game 3-3. Many soccer pundits were commenting that they have never seen a time-wasting penalty called on a goalie at this level of play.
Now the U.S. women look ahead to a rematch of the 2011 World Cup final, where they were defeated by Japan in a shootout. Earlier Monday (Aug. 6), Japan defeated France to advance to the gold medal match in their quest to be the first women’s team to win both the World Cup and the Olympic gold in the same two-year period.