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Canadian player suspended for tantrum after Olympic loss to U.S.

October 15, 2012|By Kevin Baxter
  • Both Canadian captain Christine Sinclair and Coach John Herdman were upset with the officials after the team's loss to the U.S. in the Olympic semifinals back in August.
Both Canadian captain Christine Sinclair and Coach John Herdman were upset… (Getty Images )

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Remember the U.S. women's controversial 4-3 overtime win against Canada in the Olympic soccer tournament?

Maybe not, since it was played two months ago. But FIFA apparently hasn't forgotten. And over the weekend soccer's global governing body made sure Canadian captain Christine Sinclair remembers it as well, suspending her for her team's next four games for her criticism of referee Christiana Pedersen.

To review, the game, played at Manchester's historic Old Trafford, was a tournament semifinal and Canada, behind three goals, led three times. But a pair of controversial calls late in the game -- one on keeper Erin McLeod for delaying the game when she held the ball too long before making a goal kick and another for a hand ball when Megan Rapinoe's subsequent free kick struck a Canadian defender on the arm -- set up a tying penalty-kick score for Abby Wambach. The U.S. went on to win the game with just seconds remaining in overtime on a goal by Alex Morgan.

That sent the Americans to the gold-medal match where they beat Japan while Canada won the bronze.

But back to Sinclair, the top scorer in London with six goals and the third-most-prolific scorer of all-time behind Americans Mia Hamm and Wambach.

Canada's captain was suspended and fined an undisclosed amount -- reportedly $3,500 -- for "displaying unsporting behavior towards match officials" after the game. 

"We feel like we didn't lose, we feel like it was taken from us," Sinclair said after the game. "It's a shame in a game like that, that was so important, the ref decided the result before it started."

But Sinclair wasn't alone in her criticism.

Said Canadian Coach John Herdman of Pedersen: “She’ll have to sleep in bed tonight after watching the replays, she’s got that to live with. We’ll move on from this, I wonder if she’ll be able to.”

FIFA regulations say suspensions for an incident in an official match are to carry over to the next game in an official competition, but since Canada will host the 2015 Women's World Cup and has no official matches scheduled between now and then, Sinclair's suspension will likely be served in Canada's next four friendly games.

The Canadian Soccer Assn. was expected to issue a response to the suspensions this week. But the government and the Canadian Olympic team have already spoken.

"I encourage all Canadians to keep the pride flowing for Christine Sinclair," said Canada's Minister of State for Sport, Bal Gosal, in a media statement. "I am so proud of our Canadian women's soccer team's bronze medal win at the London 2012 Olympic Summer Games -- our first medal in summer team sport since 1936."

Sinclair's teammates voted to have her carry the country's flag in the closing ceremonies of the London Games.

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