Sunday, March 07, 2010
As it happened, the Matildas were moral as well as actual victors, due to some disgraceful behaviour by the Koreans towards the end of the first half.
With the score still at 1-1 - a far-post bullet header cancelling out Sarah Walsh's superb early strike - the Australians were awarded a penalty for some pushing in the box at a free kick.
Now the call was soft, there is no doubt about that. But that in no way excuses the reaction of the North Korean team (apparently at the behest of their officials): the entire eleven marched towards the sideline, in an apparent walkoff.
The fact that they returned to the pitch after a few minutes, incidentally, suggests that the whole rigmarole was merely an elaborate piece of gamesmanship. Luckily, Katie Gill was not to be unsettled, and slotted the spot-kick away with aplomb.
Gamesmanship or not, however, the petulant display constituted an act of gross disrespect to the referee, the hosts, the fans, and the sport. A hefty fine and a temporary ban from international football would be a reasonable and appropriate reaction.
Most worryingly of all, the Matildas' coach Tom Sermanni commented at half-time that his charges were entirely used to such behaviour, and that he was glad that local fans had gotten the chance to see the sort of thing that the Matildas have to face in Asia on a regular basis.
All of which suggests that the women's game needs to be policed a little more closely by the various governing bodies. Such incidents cannot be allowed to pass without sanction.
But where are the refs? And beyond that the AFC. It's really not hard to solve is it?
For some reason the AFC and/or FIFA seem to take a blind eye.
When will it end? Who knows but it can't be many days away.
And Aussies could play the North Koreans for a third place Asian Cup play-off. That could be explosive.
North Koreans seem to have come back to the pack a little, so we can expect further fireworks methinks, and it will all be live on ABC!
Kyah Simon: Great finish mate:)
Clare Polkinghorne was the player of the match. Loved watching her play for the Roar last season (mostly as right-back I think - but she does great runs down the line), and she'll be a Matilda for a long time I reckon. She was in right mid-field yesterday, carving up wherever she wanted it seemed.
Barbieri is a loud and commanding captain as well as a brilliant keeper (quite a looker too!). I saw Casey Dumont in the crowd and I bet she wished she was out there, but Barbieri's gonna be hard to beat to the spot.
Accolades also for Sarah Walsh and of course Lisa De Vanna who although not scoring, scared the wits out of the N Korean defense every time she got the ball.
Thanks for this write-up Mike. I love a live women's soccer game, and this was two of the best teams in the world.
Can we get the USA women out here some time? Now that is a game I would travel for.