Jul 12, 2011, 12:39 PM EDT
It’s the biggest headline coming out of Germany today. Yes, Deadly spider shuts down German supermarket. But the next biggest headline is this: Hope Solo says ‘We’re bringing home the cup.’ That’s pretty bold talk, even after the miracle-ish win over Brazil.
But the interesting thing to me about Hope’s comments following the win over Brazil is not really her prediction that the U.S. will win it all. It’s her take on the Brazilian team and the way they played against the U.S. An excerpt from her remarks on the Jim Rome Show:
You can get too involved with the emotion of the game and not play, not continue your focus and not play to the best of your ability or you can manage those emotions. I found myself extremely overwhelmed with anger towards the ref, towards the Brazilians, the players, their antics, and their unsportsmanship. I found myself just incredibly angered, but I knew there was still a way to win this so I did everything I could to manage my emotions, to stay focused, to stay in the zone, and that’s what I was able to do.”
Did once-proud Brazil really devolve into a cheating machine against the Americans? Take a look at this graph from ESPN Soccer’s Roger Bennett:
But Marta herself led the descent into the dark side of the ugly game. Niggling, heckling, faking injuries and flopping to run out the clock. Her performance stooped so low, she achieved a rare feat — the heckling of the Brazilian jersey. Neutrals in the crowd whistled her every touch. The world’s finest female soccer player transformed herself into a wrestling heel.
And from USA Today:
There were heated exchanges on the pitch as well, where minute by minute — all 122 of them — tensions rose till the climatic shootout.
Marta found it hard to deal with and she turned into the villain of the match as her brilliant play was offset by constant whining.
It didn’t help that she set up and converted Brazil’s penalty to level the match in the 65th minute and seemingly secured the second with a delicate volley in the 92nd minute. The crowd still turned against her, with boos and whistles growing louder every time she touched the ball.
“They love me,” Marta said about the crowd, in a remark dripping with irony. Even the referee had to intervene, giving her a yellow card for protesting on the verge of halftime.
A pretty shameful performance for the country that’s supposed to play host to the 2016 Olympic Games. Then of course there was some epically bad officiating:
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- None found