The Canadians thought it was a hockey game, and the referee (below) was clueless, but in the end, it didn’t matter.
The United States defeated Canada 2-0 on Sunday (Feb. 21) to win the Olympic qualifying tournament for countries from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
As a practical matter, the game didn’t mean much, because both teams had already earned their spots in this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
But you wouldn’t know that from the way the Canadian players were grabbing, shoving, and plowing into their U.S. counterparts. Canada was tagged with 16 fouls, and the number might have been twice that if the referee, Quetzalli Alvarado of Mexico, had done her job.
“The result.” wrote Graham Hays of ESPNW, “was combative but hardly compelling. There were nine Canadian fouls in the opening half, only two fewer fouls in 45 minutes than any of the first four U.S. opponents [in the qualifying tournament] committed in 90 minutes.”
Here are five oddities, curiosities or (possibly) interesting facts about the game and its participants:
Canada and the United States have one of the oldest rivalries in women’s soccer. They first squared off on July 7, 1986, It was the first international match for the Canadian women, and the U.S. team wasn’t even a year old. (The United States won 2–0.)
In 56 meetings, the United States has 48 wins, the Canadians have three, and the sides have played to a draw five times.
In five games in the qualifying tournament, the United States scored 23 goals and gave up none.
Nine women’s teams have already qualified for the 12-team soccer competition at the Rio Olympics: Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, New Zealand, South
Africa, the United States, and Zimbabwe. They’ll be joined by two teams from Asia and one more from Europe, either the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden or Switzerland.