Anyone who doubts the existence of an all powerful guiding ‘force’ guiding the progress and results of sporting events called Sports Karma looks like a Carl Everett like buffoon after yesterdays stunning USA win over Brazil in the Women’s World Cup quarter finals.
Flippancy aside, isn’t it a little too coincidental how sports so often comes back to a Karmic like path? Take for example the 1966 World Cup final, where England used a much disputed ‘goal’ to beat the Germans. Is it merely a coincidence that in 2010 Germany survived a Frank Lampard ‘goal’, that clearly crossed the line but was disallowed, to go on to oust the heavily favoured Brits?
The above example in itself shows just how long Sports Karma is willing to lay in wait before raining down its own particular brand of justice.
Well, last night, the Sports Karma Gods were busy. Very busy. First they took note of Brazil’s incredibly long list of transgressions during the match itself. Then they considered what happened back in 2008. Then they doled out an incredibly ironic bucket full of Sports Karmic retribution. Their final judgment was as creative as it was stunning.
First, to examine the match itself. No matter what way you look at it, Brazil were basically daring the Sports Karma Gods to fire off a couple of lightning bolts. In the first half Aline annihilated Wambach with a horrific tackle, and when she was booked, the almost cartoon villain like Marta ‘dissented’ her way into the book too, Marta is an angry little creature at best, but she does herself no favours when she rants at officials, her face contorted with hate and anger.
Barely ten minutes later Aline tried to slap the ball into the net, and shockingly escaped a second yellow card, and subsequent red. Not happy with trying to palm the ball into the net, Brazil then tried to cheat their way to a penalty, as Daiane theatrically flopped in the penalty area, only for the referee to wave play on. Even when they did score, it was illegal, or should have been anyway. Brazil’s 92nd minute goal shouldn’t have been allowed, with at least two players in offside positions.
The USA were then shockingly denied a penalty, as Cristiane clattered into Lepeilbet inside the box, Cristiane even looked distraught momentarily, thinking she had fouled the player. Amazingly, the referee waved play on.
Brazil’s worst transgression in the match itself occurred after 115 minutes. This is the one that really got the attention of the Sports Karma Gods. With the States desperately pushing for an equalizer, Brazil’s Erika flopped to the ground with almost no contact during a corner kick. As Erika flopped around ‘in agony’ on the floor, the stretcher team ran on. Erika was barely on it for five seconds, before jogging back on. Blatant time wasting and cheating at its worst.
This last act perhaps was the catalyst that forced the Sports Karma Gods into dramatic action. In 2008. Hard working US player Abby Wambach had her leg broken by a Brazilian player, in a horror tackle Vinnie Jones would have been abjectly ashamed of. Naturally, who scored the spectacular last gasp equalizer to bring the game to penalty kicks? Wambach, of course! The statuesque striker kept her nerve to hammer the ball into the net with a well placed header.
The penalty kicks were almost an after thoughts, and Brazil were left to wonder where they went wrong as the States go forward to meet France in the semi. The initial quotes coming from the Brazilian camp seem to be focusing on bizarre religious questions (Why did God let this happen to us?) and players questioning the very setup of Brazilian football. As is so often the case in sports and indeed life, the answer is generally closer to home. Brazil should just watch a replay of the game, and try thinking about their nefarious, cheating and flopping ways in the context of the Sports Karma Gods.
Much like what happened to England first in 1966 and then 2010, the Sports Karma Gods sometimes take their time, but, they eventually always get the job done.