Canada’s women’s soccer team takes revenge at the Tokyo Olympics against the United States after being robbed in London 2012 – .

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Canada’s women’s soccer team takes revenge at the Tokyo Olympics against the United States after being robbed in London 2012 – .


The Canadian women’s soccer team celebrates their 1-0 semi-final victory over the United States at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium on Monday. Canada won on a penalty, which qualified them for the gold medal game scheduled for August 5.

Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

Most of the time, you won’t get revenge. Things don’t even get better at the end.

Sometimes you’ll get a return on your investment in one form or another, but it’s often cheap and out of context.

Very, very rarely in life you will get full recovery. May the harm done to you come back to your antagonist.

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That’s what the Canadian women’s soccer team got on Monday night in Kashima against the United States.

Nine years after one of the great scams in Olympic history, Canada has had the advantage of arbitrating to the letter of the law, while completely missing the spirit of the game. heads to a gold medal match the Canadians were robbed of at the London Games in 2012.

Monday’s game was what the British call “absorbing” – that is, sloppy, but even.

The United States did not look near their best in Tokyo – “ripe for selection,” veteran Canada captain Christine Sinclair said afterward. But they always show up with a brutal goal.

In the second half of a scoreless game on Monday, the United States started hitting them in waves. After 60 minutes, the Americans replaced three new forwards, including two former World Player of the Year. It was not good for our heroes.

Around the 70th minute, a ball returned to the American surface. US defender Tierna Davidson chased him to the edge of the box and knocked him out of bounds. But Canadian forward Deanne Rose was coming in force. As Davidson moved his leg back, Rose erupted in front of her. The American inadvertently swept Rose’s leg, and both players fell to the ground in a heap.

Canadian Deanne Rose, left, and American Tierna Davidson fight for the ball.

Martin Mejia/The Associated Press

No one on the pitch or in the stands (there were not many of us) reacted. The referee called for a goal kick. But then there was a pause. The Ukrainian referee reported that the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) will be looking into the incident. Once again, no one reacted. It felt like a brief pause in the water at best.

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Then the referee pointed to the spot. Penalty kick for Canada.

The Americans did not complain because none of them had seen what had happened. Canada’s Jessie Fleming stepped up – a passing moment – and sank the penalty. 1-0 Canada. It would end like this.

You could certainly argue that it was a penalty. Inside the area, Davidson grabs Rose on the back of the leg. But you can just as easily argue that the six-second violation against Canada in that same game in 2012 was a foul.

The point is this – at that point, in a close, scoreless game, against the course of the game, with a gold medal opportunity on the line, it’s not a penalty, just like it doesn’t. was not a fault in 2012. VAR did not. t arrange the game for Canada. But it gave them a gift.

Jessie Fleming of Canada scores her first penalty goal against Adrianna Franch of the United States.

EDGAR SU / Reuters

In 2012, the Canadian team came out after the foam game.

Nine years later, the United States seemed more exhausted than anything else. The most lively player was veteran star Carli Lloyd.

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She entered the mixed zone in anger. When the volunteers tried to enforce the two-meter distance between her and reporters, Lloyd ignored them. When they surrounded her and seemed about to lay their hands on her, she took a step back. It was as far as she would go.

“Heartbreaking,” Lloyd said, hands on her hips, sweat streaming down her body.

And the call? “I couldn’t really see it. “

Well, wait for that to happen. Then come back to us.

In 2012, the American reaction was triumphant. Then coach Pia Sundhage was asked if she felt bad for the Canadiens. She smiles.

This time the Canadians were very careful not to mess with it.

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“I feel like our squad is completely different from 2012,” said Desiree Scott, one of two Canadian starters on Monday who had been on the pitch at the London Games.

What about Deanne Rose? What did the penalty look like from his extremely close perspective?

“You saw what happened,” Rose said. It’s as detailed as it gets.

And how about the original football gift? Christine Sinclair enjoyed one of the great games in women’s soccer history at Manchester Old Trafford in 2012 – three magnificent goals in a 4-3 loss.

Immediately after that game, before Canada realized he was on the verge of becoming a cult favorite, Sinclair made a promise in the locker room.

“It was completely silent,” recalls former Canadian defender Carmelina Moscato years later. « [Sinclair] said, “This will never happen again” and “We’re going to have them” and “We’re going to have them next time.” “

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At 38, Sinclair isn’t the player she once was. Instead, she became the Clint Eastwood of world football. It took her nine years and a lot of manhunt, but she settled the score.

“It was good to get revenge for a bit,” said Sinclair, unwilling to climb an ox that recently cooled down.

This is another change from 2012. At the time, the captain went out to the mixed zone and accused the referee of rigging the game.

Sinclair was 17 the last time Canada beat the United States, about to begin his international career. Since then, she has established herself as the best female team athlete this country has produced. She took a program, put it on her back, and took it from the developmental stage to the developmental stage.

Thursday, 10 p.m. ET, she will finally play for that gold, against Sweden.

Thinking back to the London experience a few years ago, Sinclair was the only member of the team who wasn’t nostalgic for it. Despite the quality of her performance, she never watched the video.

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“It’s weird,” Sinclair said at the time. “Everyone is talking about this game and I just say, ‘We lost. We have lost.’ My uncle showed me a list of people who had pulled off a hat trick at Old Trafford. I told him, “I guarantee you, I’m the only one up there who lost. “

Canada’s Christine Sinclair in the women’s soccer semi-final at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium on Monday.

Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

Canada cannot right the wrong of 2012. More than a dozen women who were there will not share the medal the team will win here in Tokyo.

But they can accomplish one of the most epic turnarounds in Canadian sporting history. They can do what no athlete ever does: spin the karmic wheel backwards.

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