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Karma comes calling when flopping fails

If you haven't seen the highlights from yesterday's World Cup quarterfinals match between the US and Brazil, you either are a pro-Brazil supporter or you don't own a television.  In last year's World Cup group stage showdown between the US and Algeria, Landon Donovan and the Yanks provided a last-minute thrilling victory that advanced them to the round of 16.  The call was played countless times over the year and it appears the US women were listening carefully.

The game yesterday was one of the best, highest energized sporting events I have witnessed in a while.  Between the iffy calls by the referee, the chants of "USA" ringing throughout the stadium, the last minute heroics of Wambach and Rapinoe, and the decisive penalty kicks, even the most disinterested soccer fans could find entertainment in the match.

But one of the things that I noticed that journalists overlooked in their analysis is the thank you that the American women owe Brazilian defender, Erika.  She would be the wonderful flopper in the 115th minute who, cameras later showed, faked a back injury well after the play ended in order to run time off the clock.  She faked it so far that medical crews actually strapped her down to the board and carried her off the field.  The second that she was off the field, she flew off the board and sprinted up the sideline to check back into the game.

This action was greeted with an initial round of raucous boos, but followed up with a smattering of mocking applause.  Needless to say, neither the American side screaming at her nor the German fans were partial to this poor demonstration of sportsmanship.

Looking back on it, the applause, albeit sarcastically, was prophetic in a sense.  Because of the stunt Erika pulled, extra time was actually extended which gave the US the opportunity to score on that brilliant cross from Rapinoe to Wambach.  Erika actually shot her team in the foot for her antics. 

A perfect example of poetic justice, in my mind.  One of the biggest issues people have with soccer, a poor showing of judgment and class, all coming back to strike down Brazil.  I, for one, could not feel happier.  Whether it had been Brazil, Argentina, Spain, or even the US if one of our players faked an injury like that, the country would not matter.  The flopping and fake injury tactic finally came full circle.

After watching Ghana spill all over the field against the US last year in extra time, knocking the Americans out of the tournament, the thought that it might occur two years in a row anguished me.  Fortunately, the American  women avoided the same fate and avenged the men's loss a little over a year ago.  Here's to hoping that the American women ride this wave of momentum to World Cup glory.  And hopefully Erika and the rest of the Brazilians learned their lesson: flopping will come back to knock you down.


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