As anyone could imagine, Canadian manager John Herdman was not in the mood for pitter-patter words in yesterday’s post-game news conference. He came right out with the big haymakers as he discussed Norwegian referee Christiana Pedersen and her performance in Monday’s 4-3 U.S. semifinal win.
The ref will have to sleep in bed tonight after watching the replays. She’s got that to live with that. We’ll move on from this, I wonder if she’ll be able to … You feel that it was taken from you. If the United States were honest, they’d know they got lucky tonight, in many ways, and that’s what hurts the most.”
Read more about it here, or just catch the “highlights” here.
Herdman was particularly upset about Pedersen’s decision to award an 80th minute penalty kick to the United States, providing a grand opportunity for a late equalizer.
But he was even more livid at the choice that we’ve already gone over, the exceedingly rare call of goalkeeper time-wasting while holding onto a ball. (Much more common is the display of a yellow card for delaying a goal kick, in which the punishment is far less harsh.) The resulting, indirect free kick led to the decisive penalty kick.
On this point, Herdman was dead on:
It wasn’t like she was trying to slow the game down, like you see when goalkeepers are really cheating. She wasn’t doing that. She was waiting for our fullback to get tucked in.”
He’s absolutely correct about the context of the decision. I see goalkeepers who are clearly, unmistakably attempting to waste time at every opportunity, and often much earlier than the 78th minute. That had not even entered my mind Monday while watching this one.
How Pedersen could adjudge that Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod was so egregious in her time-wasting that it deserved this highly unusual response, only the Norwegian referee herself could say.