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Wambach questions whether referee ‘purposefully’ gave yellows to Rapinoe, Holiday



Photo by Erich Schlegel/USA Today Sports


Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday will miss the U.S. Women’s National Team’s next match due to yellow card accumulation, and forward Abby Wambach is none too happy.

Wambach has questioned whether or not Stephanie Frappart, the French referee in charge of Monday’s game, “purposefully” gave the duo their yellow cards. The pair of bookings mean that the two U.S. players will miss Friday’s quarterfinal matchup against China.

“It’s definitely a great question,” Wambach said when asked about the two yellows. “I don’t know if they were yellows. Who knows?

“It seemed like she was purposefully giving those yellows to the players she knew were sitting on yellows. I don’t know if it was just a psychological thing. Who knows?”


The American star could possibly face a reprimand from FIFA, as the governing body does not take criticism of referees lightly. In the 2012 Olympics, Canadian star Christine Sinclair was banned four matches by FIFA after similar comments about a referee being impartial.

What do you think? Does Wambach’s statement have any truth to it? What do you expect to come of her comments?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. This is ridiculous and careless from Wambach. She is supposed to be a leader of this team. To do something like this that could lead to a possible suspension is irresponsible. It also does nothing but bring more negative attention to the team.

  2. Wambach should be more concerned with her wide, high PKs.

    The ref should issue a statement questioning Wambach’s diminishing skills.

  3. Either way, the ref did the Uswnt a favor. The two can sit out their suspension against China as opposed to a better opponent. and frankly Holiday should have seen the bench months ago. Pinoe has been inconsistent to the point that I doubt the Uswnt will really miss her. If she gets the ball in the final third she almost always takes a shot at goal even when others are in a position to score.

  4. So, besides the conveniently easy bracket, Miss wants no yellows for her teammates anymore? Anything else? Maybe some way Germany and France both get eliminated?

  5. An unfortunate side effect of the World Cup is that it brings out those people that only watch soccer every four years and yet they peg themselves as experts.
    Both yellow card were spot on.
    Learn the rules or shut up.

    • oh, so tough behind your keyboard
      I know the rules. I watch millions of games. for decades

      one of the biggest changes Jurgen brought was respect from the refs, huge change. tons of respect for him for doing that too after decades of the opposite.

      • Millions! Wow. Maybe you should take a nap.
        I don’t care how many millions of game you’ve watched over the decades, you still are still an ignorant baffoon.
        Take your act to

      • so tough with the name calling. does that really work for you man? with the weak probably it does.
        been here forever, my record speaks for itself to everyone here. you need to bring some insight to last through the various group thinks that come thru, Rob.perhaps is actually for you

        now call me a name behind your tough keyboard

      • Your record does speak for you. It says you’re irrational, ignorant homer. The worst kind of homer there is. After all the proof that’s been posted here only the most ignorant would argue against the two cards.

      • not to toot my horn Rob, but just in this World Cup, I’ve called for O’Reilly from the first game because of how this team was set up, and increasingly because how others were defending us. You hear the chorus now Rob? All the experts are spitting that out now. Not that they listen but I was saying it first. little ol’ beachbum. I just choose to share my stuff here, on SBI.

        do something like that one time dude, I dare you.

        I’m not on target all the time but often enough over the years…my record speaks for itself.

        do it once tough guy

  6. Good. This gives me the reason I’ve been looking for to stop following this team. Their games suck and their attitude is even worse.
    When’s Japan’s next game?

  7. I would be much happier of Abby would take the time she spends whining and uses it to practice spot kicks. Yes, the WWC refs suck, everybody knows that, but to imply dishonesty on top of general sukciness may get her suspended which is probably the best thing that could happen to us.

  8. Regardless that I thought the two YC’s were bogus and intentionally targeted by the French Referee, my bigger problem is that how does Fifa dignify their placing a referee in this match who’s country is also downstream in that same bracket. What’s up Fifa, were the NoKo or Iranian ref’s not available? …. seriously, She knew her Frenchy’s were down the line and did her best to weaken the #2 ranked team in Womens Football.

    The Holliday YC was shameful at best, and could have just as well gone against the opponent. There should have been a simple play on in that instance. The Rapino card was clearly an example of two things.. The referee’s designed intent to ‘find a way’ to take Rapinoe away from the US, but also, Rapinoe should look at herself in the mirror. Her argumentative display just barely a minute prior to the card was probably all the bait the ref needed. Rapinoe’s verbal and body language disrespect obviously pissed the ref off.. as in the next minute she got even with Rapinoe. Her claims that she cannot change her game just to simply avoid another YC was simply asinine and her respect for her team should have been a bigger factor.

    I’m wondering what Heather O’Reilly speed and holding technique would do under Press and Morgan, with Abby being benched until possible insertion late if needed. Shannon Boxx’s quad strain after the Nig’ game is unfortunate as she could have been very valuable as a necessary #6.

    Does anyone else but me think that Jill Ellis should have to win the WWC to keep this job? I have constantly felt that she is clueless and relies way too much on a “Bombs Away” offense. Just IMHO.. All of you real soccer pro’s can now set me straight.. Well except for B. Calhoun anyway..

    • Not gonna bother with the French conspiracy…it would have been better for the French if the ref carded Americans that didn’t have a YC already, making it more probable that they’d be suspended for the potential US/France game. Now two of the best US players will most likely come into that game well rested.

      I’ll reply to the last question…does Jill Ellis have to win. I’d say yes, unless she shows some vague tactical sense in the games before they get eliminated. There’s no shame in getting beaten by a talented Germany or French team…unless the reason you get beaten is because you’re playing most of your mid-field out of position and are relying on long ball tactics like a U-11 team instead of dominating possession and showing some competence in the passing game.

      • nothing to do with conspiracy theories man, good grief. It’s a conflict of interest which, as we know, affects one’s perspective as a human, let alone a ref. and a red card? for what? the yellows weren’t even legit but the prevailing thoughts coming into this tournament were that both Holiday and Rapinoe were the two US players that were not replaceable. whether that is true or not will now be seen vs. a pretty darn good defensive team in China

    • Check the replay again. Holiday goes studs first into the Colombian player’s ankle. Absolutely worthy of a card.

      I don’t think Rapinoe’s was worth one though.

      I think the conspiracy theory is ridiculous – most of the reffing in this tournament has been subpar, last night just wasn’t any different.

      • Only two of which were actually fouls. The other two (40′ and 34′) were a dive and a classic second-foul-gets-called situation.

      • And look at that vine: contact yes, but studs down, and she carelessly steps on her foot. That’s not worthy of a caution in and of itself. Like I said: I think it’s a better card on the basis of it being a tactical foul.

        And if you look: The Colombian is already diving before contact. Hilarious.

      • in the end hopefully a blessing in disguise all of this as Holiday has struggled so we’ll see. Rapinoe hasn’t but having to play without her the US may have to tactically change it up with their flank play which may just be a good thing. we’ll see

  9. Not yellows, and the ref was naive to buy all the flopping; however, there was no conspiracy. If Abby thinks the team needs Rapinoe and Holiday in order to beat China, then the US Women have much deeper problems than some yellows.

  10. What the ref did was affect later games. The red and PKs prove nothing about her decisions on the yellows Birgit. How many rodeos you been to anyway? This kind of zebra mumbo jumbo is older than me…which is old. The KEY is to overcome it, but pretending it doesn’t exist precludes any opportunity to overcome it…how can one overcome something if its pretended to not even exist? Of course cramp like this exists!

    But so what…overcome it. THAT us the task at hand imo

  11. Wasn’t it 13 fouls to 3 in the first half?

    Anyway the good is that this forces Ellis to try new tactics with the wing play. We’ll see

  12. It seems that Wambach is out of line here. The ref did a good job. I wished that the PKs had not been given to the goalie and other Columbian player because the Columbian women might have made it much more difficult for the US to win. The USWNT might not have won. I do not believe that the ref awarded two penalty kicks against Columbia for no reason. They were the correct call. So, Wambach making statements regarding Rapinoe and Holiday is quite a bit over the top. Also the women did not play well. Something needs to happen so they can get their act together.for the next game.

  13. this team is out of control arrogant and entitled! personally im glad there will be a little shake up with these suspensions, Jill needs to get control over this roster and play some of the more motivated younger players that are more focused on playing quality soccer rather than whining and making a scene..

    • Agree.,there is too much a sense of entitlement. At least one of the older sacred players should have been cut before the tournament started for the coach to get control and send a signal Apparently Carli Lloyd and Holiday are not comfortable with their positions and it shows. Our central midfield had been the weakest part of the team. We are playing with a flat back and a flat midfield. We need a diamond with a holding midfielder in front of backs and the top of the diamond tucked under the strikers or maybe 3 forwards. I think Aby’s age is showing and her frustration is in part because she can’t do the things she used to. I think we would be better with someone else pairing with Morgan.

  14. This could be sour grapes. However as I pointed out in a post after another story, there was a large discrepancy in how many fouls were called and a much worse foul by a Colombian wasn’t given a card.

    • +1,000,000,000,000….

      I’ll be ssssoooooooo glad when that bitch retires from international competition.

      • woah, calm down.
        I do agree, though, that she typically speaks without class regarding officiating, FIFA (some warranted criticism though), former coaches and players, etc.

  15. The YC to Hoilday was iffy, but the YC to Rapinoe was a good call, and probably would have been a YC for persistent infringement (it was her 5th foul of the half) even if the ref didn’t think the foul itself was YC worthy.
    Enough wining about the refs…they’re nto the reason the US was being outplayed by Colombia before the red card.

    • Are you blind? Columbias keeper had to make multiple clutch saves wheres Solo was NEVER challenged, my god are the posters on this site the biggest load of crap ive ever seen.

      • Never is too strog, but not by much. COL had two shots on goal. One of those was from about 35 yards and the other was from about 23. Solo didn’t have much to do as far as shot-stopping.

    • Totally ridiculous to say Colombia outplayed the US in the first half. Colombia had the better of the play for maybe 5-10 minutes if that and their keeper made several decent saves.

    • The Rapinoe foul wasn’t YC worthy unless it was a yellow for PI. It certainly wasn’t recklessness – UB.

      The LH foul was iffy both as a reckless UB foul or as a tactical UB foul, but I think the argument for the latter is stronger.

      • I am and I’ve been reffing for 18 years. Holiday is a professional player and she puts her studs into another players ankle. That’s at least a yellow anywhere in the world.

  16. The Holiday yellow was questionable but Rapinoe’s was due to persistent infringement. She was incolved in 3 or 4 fouls before being carded. Now….it could be debated if any of those fouls were legit

    • None of those fouls were legit, every single one of them was exceptionally soft and at least 1 should have gone the other way

      • We get it, you’re a homer that won’t concede any point no matter hour reasonable. Go play somewhere else.

      • The fact that ANYONE is defending the officials in this tournament is an absolute joke, there isnt a single news venue, in multiple countries/languages that are doing anything but criticizing the refs

      • So because Media is stupid and going for pageviews you think that makes them able to judge how good a referees calls are? You’re delusional here’s the breakdown.

        First Holidays tackle is here, studs into the players ankle, that’s a yellow all day. Here’s the Vine

        Second Rapinoes card was for Persistent Infringement, she committed 4 fouls.

        8’ — FOUL: An errant arm up high or a hip check. Take your pick.

        34’ — FOUL: Trip while on the ground with no opportunity to play the ball (preventing one of the two Colombia players to maintain possession and possibly start launching a counter attack). She gets summoned by the referee for a talking-to. Rapinoe acting very frustrated at this point.

        40’ — FOUL: Trip in the Colombia attacking corner against Vidal, also with no opportunity to play the ball fairly (as it was being shielded well). Vidal had been fouled a lot over the course of the game by various USA players.

        41’ — FOUL & CAUTION: Body check against Velasquez, also in the Colombia attacking third. This came less than a minute after the previous foul and less than seven minutes after the stern talking-to she got from the referee. Easy caution, again.

        You’re done son.

      • On the 34′ foul, the Colombian player who Rapinoe tripped fouled her first. Should have been going the other way. The ref was bad.

      • Referee was bad based on your years of experience as a referee? Or your ability to sit on your couch and watch slow mo instant replay?

        Shut up, ref wasn’t any worse than NWSL refs.

      • Also: the 40′ foul was a horsecrap dive and a terrible call.

        So yeah: It’s PI if you accept that the referee was actually seeing fouls and not simply buying dives. The only problem with that is that she (and her far side AR – who actually made the 40′ and 41′ call) was buying dives all night long.

      • And yet, none of the fouls were fouls aside from the last one. They were EXTREMELY and i mean EXTREMELY soft. If i called games that way at the college level (which, btw i do actively ref, thanks for asking) i would be calling a foul every single time someone touched a ball. It was pathetic. Get out of here child

    • The ref was very CONCACAFfy. Colombia’s game was pass the ball around 40 yards from goal, then run down the flank, initiate contact and flop. And the ref bought it every time.

      If this was skating and you got judged on technical ability Colombia would have gotten a gold-medal winning score. But none of it was anywhere close to goal.

    • Totally disagree. Holiday went studs first into the other player’s ankle. I’ve seen straight red given for that kind of foul before in a men’s game. Given how much the women get away with in general (the overall standard of the refs), I think yellow was the right call on that play.

      I thought the Rampinoe card was definitely soft – I actually didn’t think that one amounted to a foul at all. I thought the Colombian player initiated the contact.

      • If you’ve seen people given red for that then you’ve seen a miscarriage of justice. That’s not excessive force. The contact wasn’t forceful at all(watch dustin’s vine: LH is pulling out as soon as there is contact) and her studs weren’t up. She carelessly stepped on a player’s foot. It happens.

  17. getting pretty annoying seeing Rapinoe, Lloyd, Wamback keep yapping at the refs and throwing arms up in the air when they are fouled, worst if the ref ignores them… they also complained when they foul and are called for it… just play the game and be a leader.

    • they’ve been watching Dempsey. Next thing you know they’ll be sulking on the ground ..and pulling up their socks as they look at the ref with dismay

  18. aren’t these the kind of comments that lead to fines or reprimands.

    Abby, shut up. Just shut up and play.

    next thing we know she’ll be blaming the fake grass for her left-footed PK that sailed well wide.

  19. I was quite surprised to see the Ref give cards for those two fouls. It’s strange: I wouldn’t think that the French would be so afraid of us.

  20. Banned for saying, “Who knows?,” two times? And, “I don’t know if they were yellows.” Hardly likely, IMHO. However, it IS Fifa, so who knows? Ban me, too, if they do.


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