The 4th quarterfinal of the 2011 Women's World Cup had a little bit of everything: sloppy defending, missed chances, spectacular saves, officiating controversy, and a finish for the ages. Just a truly incredible match. Here are some of the highlights:
The United States took a quick 1-0 lead 74 seconds into the match, after a Brazil own goal by their sweeper Dianae. The USA held that lead at halftime, with help from a Hope Solo save in the 38th minute.
Then, in the 65th minute, controversy erupted after a breathtaking run into the box, by Marta. This video shows both the red card, the distputed PK, and then at 9:35 the incredible goal by Marta at the start of extra time.
I agree with Darke's call in the moment. I do think Marta should have been awarded a PK after her incredible move with the ball. But, a red card was totally unnecessary and harsh judgment from Australian referee Jacqui Melksham. As to the save and re-kick, there have been far worse instances of encroachment not called.
After 55 minutes of only playing with 10 on the field, with only a couple of minutes left in the match (following some spectacular injury milking by the Brazilians, especially from the defender Erika), Megan Rapinoe delivers a perfect ball onto the head of Abby Wambach, who delivered a thunderous header into the net, to force the match into a PK shootout:
For my money, a more stunning goal than the one Landon Donovan scored against Algeria in last summer's World Cup in South Africa.
Wambach's equalizer led to the PK shootout, which was eventually won by the United States 5-3.
The United States advances to the semifinals. They play France at 11:30 AM ET on Wednesday.