|Ms Necib against Canada in the Bronze Medal Match. A bientot, Angel!|
Team France lost an absolutely heartbreaking Semi versus Japan on Monday. They did not play the first half with their usual offensive abandon and found themselves two goals down on set pieces, including one which was a goalkeeper howler. By the time France got back in to the game -- and by this point Necib was completely out of her head, her finest performance ever in a big-time tournament -- two things sealed their fate: Bussaglia missed the frame on her rightly called penalty and the Japanese goalkeeper stopped Necib's point blank shot later in the run of play.
Japan are a very good team, and they play as a team. Everyone helps out all over the field and they are so solid and organized that it can make up for whatever they lack in terms of an air game. The last fifteen minutes of that Semi was the first time I have seen Team Japan rattled like that.
Meanwhile the USWNT's Semi with Canada was an even greater match to watch, though by the end of it, I honestly was rooting for Canada. Christine Sinclair's performance -- a Hat Trick -- was a sublime blend of grit, power, and beauty. And, her reaction on the field after the third goal was astonishing to witness.
|Christine Sinclair after scoring her third goal in the London 2012 Women's Football Semis.|
It makes it all the more painful for Canada due to the fact that two very controversial calls went against them that might have cost them the match. There was a very dubious "six second rule" called against the Canadian goalkeeper, which I have never seen called in any football match, men or women's ever, and another subsequent iffy handball called right after the USWNT's indirect free kick in the box.
So, sue me. I will be rooting for Japan in the final and Team France for the Bronze. (France is dominating the run of play currently but can not seem to finish. Both teams are exhausted, too.)
UPDATED: Team Canada win the Bronze, scoring against the run of play in extra time to beat Team France one nil.
Heartbreak for France.