Women's World Cup 2011 Quarterfinals, USA Vs. Brazil: Rachel Buehler Sent Off, Madness Ensues

The Women's World Cup quarterfinal match between the United States and Brazil has officially jumped the shark. Thanks in combination to some fantastic skill by Marta and some terrible refereeing, Brazil is now level with the United States, with the score level at 1-1. Marta converted a penalty conceded by Rachel Buehler, but that doesn't even begin to tell the story of what happened during the sequence.

First, Marta did extremely well to beat two defenders in the box with a flick over the top of them before she ran onto the ball towards the goal. The ball bounced up and Marta jumped up for it, making contact with Buehler and falling down. The referee thought that Buehler fouled Marta and showed her a straight red card for denial of a clear goal scoring opportunity before pointing to the penalty spot. Though the foul probably should not have been given, the referee deserves credit for being consistent and following the letter of the law, as she had to show Buehler a red card in that situation if she thought there was a foul.

That mistake was completely understandable and one that any referee in the world could have made, but her next mistake was indefensible. Hope Solo saved the initial penalty, but a retake was given. The referee was not looking at any United States players who might have encroached on the penalty, and Solo never left her line. Solo was given a yellow card, and Marta converted on the re-take.

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