Canada’s Melissa Tancredi got away with stomping on Carli Lloyd’s head during semifinal

Brooks Peck
Fourth-Place Medal

Even before the U.S. scored its 123rd-minute extra-time winner to beat Canada 4-3 and advance to the Olympic women's soccer final, Canada was accusing the match's referee of collusion. A rare time-wasting call on Canada goalkeeper Erin McLeod and a handball call on the ensuing indirect free kick led to an 80th-minute penalty kick for the U.S.'s Abby Wambach, which put the score at 3-3 and sent the match to extra time. "The ref decided the result before the game started," said Canada's hat-trick scoring Christine Sinclair after her side was eliminated. "If the United States were honest they'd know they got lucky," added Canada coach John Herdman. But newly re-examined images from the match reveal that Canada got a bit lucky in places itself.

[Photos: U.S. Women's Soccer team]

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The fuzzy image above (and the clearer one below) shows Canada's Melissa Tancredi, who finished the match with just one yellow card despite being called for at least seven fouls, stomping on the head of fallen U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd in the box. You can see a gif of the incident here for context. Tancredi appears to deliberately step back in order to plant a boot on Lloyd's head, but what could have very well been a straight red card that wasn't called at all. The referee did stop play soon after to check on Lloyd's condition, though.

Yet Tancredi still felt it reasonable to accuse referee Christina Pederson of fixing the match to her face during the game. From the Toronto Sun:

When asked what she said to Pederson after the call [that led to the penalty], she said: "I hope you can sleep tonight and put on your American jersey because that's who you played for today. I was honest."

[Related: Canada Women's Soccer coach accuses U.S. of 'highly illegal' tactics]

If you add up all the calls and non-calls for each side, they still might not even out in the end. But then again, they rarely do. The point in showing this is simply to illustrate that the Canadian team's conspiracy theories are a bit silly.

As for Tancredi, if this is brought to the attention of FIFA, she could still be punished for it. Colombia's Lady Andrade was later given a two-match ban for punching Wambach in the face during a group-stage match after the referee missed it.

UPDATE: According to Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, FIFA will not take action against Tancredi for the stomp. Wahl also notes that "Lloyd says she thinks it [the stomp] was on purpose."

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