Anyone who visited a newsstand in both Canada and the United States on Tuesday surely would have gotten a chuckle out of how differently newspapers played Monday's thrilling soccer semifinal between the two neighboring countries.
In the U.S., the headlines celebrated Alex Morgan's game-winning goal with less than one minute to go in extra time. In Canada, the coverage bemoaned the questionable calls that enabled the U.S. to force overtime in the first place.
"Robbed!" screamed the headline of the Ottawa Sun with a sub-head noting the "blown calls" that cost Canada its shot at women's soccer gold. "Kick in the Teeth" and "Agony and Anger" echoed The Globe and Mail, and Winnipeg Free Press.
At issue was a delay-of-game call against Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod and a hand ball on the ensuing free kick that resulted in Abby Wambach's game-tying penalty kick with 10 minutes to go in regulation.
TV replays showed McLeod held the ball for 10 seconds — four more than is permissible — but the delay-of-game call is one that is seldom if ever made. The hand ball was a judgment call as Megan Rapinoe's shot ricocheted off the hands or arms of two Canadian defenders in the box.
"We feel like we didn't lose," Canadian star Christine Sinclair said. "We feel like it was taken from us. It's a shame in a game like that, which is so important, that the ref had such an impact on it. We feel cheated."
Neither Sinclair nor her teammates received much sympathy from the U.S. team after an epic, hard-fought game.
Asked if she felt sympathy for Canada after the controversial calls, U.S. coach Pia Sundhage offered a one-word answer: "Nope."
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