Normally The Sportist would be looking to kick off its view on the latest round of women’s football in a somewhat light-hearted, self-deprecating way. Not today. Today, The Sportist only has one thing that it wants to say:
Thank you to Canada and the USA for a perfect demonstration of football at its very, very best. Thank you for two hours of non-stop adrenalin filled excitement. Thank you for being the perfect advert for the women’s game to this country. Thank you for stupendous goals, crunching tackles, defending of the highest order, incisive passing, outstanding teamwork, a show with no theatrics beyond the sheer drama of the game itself. Thank you for giving this football fan one of the greatest football matches he has ever had the privilege of witnessing.
To put the game in to words would be to do it a great disservice. Suffice to say, Sinclair’s hat-trick deserved never to see the losing end of a score-line; Megan Rapinoe’s second goal deserved to win an Olympic gold all on its own; Alex Morgan’s at-the-death winner had all the pain and pleasure this sport can bring at its very, very best.
History will record that the USA won this match. So much is true, but even when history is written by the victorious this will tell only a fraction of the story. The real winner was football; was the Olympics; was every person who saw the game, every child – of whatever gender – who has seen what this sport can be when stripped of the baggage, excess, vainglorious posturing that too frequently accompanies the men’s game.
Either Japan or the United States will take home a silver medal come Thursday. One of France and Canada will leave empty handed. If medals were awarded on effort, merit, artistic impression and sheer entertainment each player on the pitch tonight would be leaving with a Gold medal in hand.
To Canada this may be no consolation, but from the depth of every football fan’s heart – thank you.
Image from http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports (Thanks!)