After the dust settled from the U.S. women's national team's thrilling 4-3, extra-time victory over Canada in the Olympic semifinals, Norwegian referee Christiana Pedersen and her controversial six-second call are still at the forefront of the post-match discussion.
Pedersen enforced the seldomly called rule — one that says the goalkeeper must put the ball back in play within six seconds — on Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod, who said she was never warned by the referee and only told at halftime by an assistant referee to "Make sure you don't slow the play too much." Replays showed that McLeod had the ball for 11 seconds, so technically Pedersen's call was correct; however, for a rule so rarely enforced across all levels to be called upon on such a big moment has Canadian players and coaches fuming.
Canadian forward Melissa Tancredi said she told Pedersen after Abby Wambach's game-tying penalty kick that followed the indirect free kick granted by the call that, "I hope you can sleep tonight and put on your American jersey, because that's who you played for today."
Captain Christine Sinclair, whose hat trick carried the Canadian women, said, "We feel like we didn't lose, we feel like it was taken from us. It's a shame in a game like that that was so important, the ref decided the result before it started."
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CAZORLA SIGNS WITH ARSENAL
Santi Cazorla is the latest attacking player to join Arsenal.
The 27-year-old Spanish midfielder signed with the Gunners after moving from Malaga for an undisclosed transfer fee. The terms of his contract were not disclosed, but according to Arsenal Cazorla is signed to a "long-term deal."
Cazorla joins Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud as offensive signings this summer, as Arsenal prepares for the potential departure of Robin van Persie while overhauling its attack.
"Santi Cazorla is a great signing for us," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said in a statement. "He is a player with good experience at both club and international level, who will add significant quality to our squad. He is a versatile, attacking midfield player who can play comfortably on either side of the pitch or centrally. He has good pace, is technically gifted and will be a huge asset to Arsenal Football Club."
Cazorla was a member of Spain's victorious Euro 2012 team, and he had spent his entire club career playing in Spain.
VILLA RETURNS FROM INJURY
Eight months after breaking his leg, Barcelona striker David Villa is back.
Villa was included in Barcelona's 24-man squad for preseason friendlies against Manchester United and Dinamo Bucharest, marking his return from a broken leg suffered at the FIFA Club World Cup last December.
The injury forced Villa to miss the remainder of the season for Barcelona, which came up short in La Liga for the first time in four years. He was also unable to return in time for Euro 2012, but Spain was able to win despite his absence.
ALBIOL EXTENDS MADRID STAY
Raul Albiol plans on staying at Real Madrid for the long haul after all.
The 26-year-old Spanish defender signed a two-year contract extension with Real Madrid that will keep him at the Bernabeu through the 2016-17 season. The centerback joined Real Madrid from Valencia in 2009 but has not had a firm place in Jose Mourinho's lineup and was speculated to be on the outs despite having two years left on his initial deal.
What do you think of the Canadian women's reaction? Do you like the Cazorla signing for Arsenal? Do you think Barcelona is the Spanish favorite with Villa back, or is Real Madrid the team to beat?
Share your thoughts below.