Tuesday Kickoff: Canadian women react, Cazorla seals Arsenal deal and more

CWNT (Reuters Pictures)

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."

Here are a few more stories to get your day going:


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.


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.


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.

  • You want objective

    Ask most of the soccer world and “informed” Americans what they think about Tancredi stomping on a US players head and the handful of other non calls in the box?


  • rob

    in this game, it was Wambaugh, standing beside the ref, counting out loud to influence the referee. the ref caved in brutal fashion.


  • Natsalways

    I have been reading these comments all morning and thinking back to the 2002 World Cup when the US men were so obviously ripped off against the German team in the Quarterfinals. I don’t remember how the players reacted then, but it is a good frame of reference.

    I don’t agree this is the same level of egregiousness…the ref actually called a pretty even, if not very good, game, to my mind. But if I were a hardcore CA women’s fan, I would be crushed today. I can’t blame you for feeling that way….trust me, we gave been there.

    I still think it is classless of the players and particularly the coach to go off about it, and remarkably so given the class they showed in putting the ball out of bounds when Buehler got cramps. Fans are one thing: coaches and players should have a little more professionalism, to my mind.

    Great game.


  • Joe

    While I agree that the call is strange in that it was enforced; however, McLeod had some form of warning albeit from an assistant ref not the main ref. Earlier in the game she had held on to the ball for far longer then the time it was called. Yes Hope had had a couple of instances where she held onto the ball for 7-8 seconds but so did McLeod so it could have been called on her more than once. As to the two handballs, they are unfortunately not consistent in how they call those so either one called have been called, both or neither. As to Tancredi, she is lucky she didn’t get carded for any of her reckless challenges as I believe her yellow was for dissent and may have been for her comment mentioned above.


  • JSmiley

    I feel bad for the Canadians and their fans. They played a fantastic game and did not deserve that unusual time-wasting call.

    But the Canadian team benefitted more from officiating error than the Americans did.

    Tancredi should have been given a straight red card at about 55:00 for intentionally stepping on Carly Lloyd’s head. The game was tied at the time and Canada would have been playing 10 vs 11 for 35 minutes. I don’t think there would have been any way for Canada to hang on. Obviously, Canada’s 2nd goal would not have happened the way it did (Tancredi cross).

    If the ref doesn’t call the time-wasting, USA would have pressed on for 12 more minutes to try for the equalizer. Considering they had already equalized twice, there would have been a good chance they would have done so.

    Tancredi should be suspended for two games just like the Colombian player was suspended for punching Wambach.


  • Shane

    Brian K, did I say the DA was for women? No. I was talking about both national teams coaches (men and women) complaining. The mens coach claimed that MLS rules regarding domestic players is hurting the development of Canadian players. MLS cant do anything about US immigratin law.


  • juvi177

    If you can’t understand the difference between a missed call (there were many going both ways and will always be many in most games) and the basically unprecedented ridiculous indirect free kick given with 11 mins remaining, then there is no point in having any further discussion.

    You can say it’s a rule so it was right to enforce it. Fine, if it’s a rule then Hope Solo should have been called on it to; the circumstances should not vary the implementation of the rule. Further, if the rule is followed there can be no missed calls- it’s easy to implement: every time the goalie gets the ball in her hands, start the clock.

    You don’t suddenly decide to start enforcing a rule with 11 mins left in an elimination match.


  • Will

    It’s part of the game when calls/fouls don’t go your way. The Canadians play a hard game but at the end of the day refs make the final call. It’s how you react to it that makes the difference. The Canadians could have done more for them selves instead of blaming a ref for their lose. I’m sad that the Canadians feel they got cheated and how they react after the game. It shows that the coach and players need to become more professional. Its a embarrassment for how the coach and players reacted to the post game interviews.


  • Mike Caramba

    Torres tied five other players with three goals and won on minutes played. Two of his goals came in a 4-0 win over Ireland, and one came on mop-up in a 4-0 win over ten-man Italy.

    “Invisible” is taking it one step too far, but Torres is still pretty far from his best.


  • georgesd

    Bull, the game was physical on both sides, Tancredi or Wambach among many others, what about the knee Wambach ‘placed’ on Schmidt. Fouls, 20 for the USA and 19 for Canada.
    Soccer is a physical game. A couple of final points:
    -the ref favored the trailing Americans with the time call w 10+/- min remaining.
    -Canada held her own throughout the match.
    No glory in this victory for USA. Thank the ref. She won’t ref any semi game in the foreseeable future.

    USA, you were lucky. Don’t gloat.


  • KarlthewonderYak

    On a different note, Cazorla for 15-17 million is a steal in my opinion.


  • Metasyntactic variable

    What I didn’t understand at the time was McLeod actually kicked the ball and then the call was made; I think we’ve all seen egregious time-wasting, but when this call was made it didn’t meet that definition by a long shot.


  • Allouez86

    If the keeper delays the game by waiting to put the ball back into play after a dead ball situation, (goal kick, foul) it’s a yellow card, not an indirect kick for the other team. If the keeper collects the ball during the run of play and holds it longer than 6 seconds, then it’s an indirect kick for the opposing team. I’m no expert, but that’s how it was when I was eight and would assume that’s how it still is ;) Just strange when the rule never gets enforced.


  • Joe

    Honestly it should be for a lot longer. A punch to the gut is bad, stomping on a downed players face is inexcusable. I had not seen the stomp before but now that I have I would like to see her get a fairly stiff penalty of 5+ games. You just cannot do something like that, I know the refs can’t see everything but how was that missed? The ball wasn’t far away, though it was moving across goal.

    Was this also the play where the US pushed forward while Lloyd was down but Canada kicked it out when they got possession?


  • Sean

    The indirect free kick call did not make the score 3-3, the defender handling the ball in the penalty area did. The PK tied the game, the Canadians still had 40min to win the game and allowed another US goal. Why are ya’ll upset about the indirect kick, when your defense let you down twice to lose the game.


  • Gene

    If the tables were turned, I am sure there would be a lot of complaining.

    But I don’t think there would be national team coaches and players insinuating that the game was somehow fixed.


  • Mason

    Funny thing, rob…

    Q: If the referee had chosen to give a yellow card for Unsporting Behavior (or any other misconduct that is not in-and-of-itself a foul), do you know what the restart would have been?

    A: IFK for USA at the spot of the infraction.


  • Mason

    Do you know why you never see that called?

    Because most GK’s above U-10 don’t make the mistake of establishing a pattern of holding on to the ball for too long, being warned about holding on to the ball for too long, and then persisting in their pattern.

    I see this call all the time. I make a few of them annually in youth matches I work. The kids get it. Why didn’t McLeod?


  • Mason

    If the AR is warning you, consider yourself warned by the CR. There are three teams on the pitch. Ignoring a warning because it came from an AR is a good way to get booked.


  • NF

    I remember Donovan saying the team was “robbed” at the World Cup. That’s about it. I don’t remember a single time that an American player has ever accused a referee of deciding the winner before the match or of wearing the opposing team’s shirt. It’s shockingly poor sportsmanship. The manager is to blame with his unprofessional accusations before the match that basically gave his players the OK to be brutally physical (apparently to the point of stomping on another player’s face).


  • ChuckinBham

    Dear Canadian Women’s Team –

    Welcome to the woes of international soccer….

    US Men’s National Team


  • sagcat

    Does it also mean that a French player gets to stomp on a Canadian player’s face in the Bronze match?


  • dog

    Great signing for Arsenal! Cazorla is the most underrated Spanish player followed by Ferni LLorente


  • Miguel

    I agree with Gene wholeheartedly. When the referee in the US-Slovenia Men’s world cup game called back a totally legitimate Edu goal, without an explanation, players and coaches were upset, but never claimed that a fix was in. I think the Canadian Coach really set a poor example, perhaps setting his players up for suspensions, with his comments. Even before the game, he was at it, claiming the US use “illegal” tactics. To my eyes, both teams were physical, but the Canadians were more so.


  • Miguel

    Joamig, Thanks for posting that clip. Tancredi is the worst kind of thug. A sissy, whiney thug. She should receive a 10-game international suspension for that stamp. That’s unbelievable and in a physical game all around, with Canada setting the tone, that attack stands out as a deliberate attempt to injure a player. I felt some sympathy for Canada, but this plus the whining and conspiracy crap from the fans and worst the team itself has done away with that.


  • Smpl

    I have been watching the video of Tancredi deliberately stomping on Lloyd’s head when she was down. That was a clear cut red card that was missed. My question is this- why hasn’t she been suspended upon further review? It was flagrant and unquestionably intentional.


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