Colombia, ranked 28th in the world, pulled of an enormous upset at the Women’s World Cup, beating 3rd-ranked France 2-0 in group play. But the upset may have never happened if not for the referee missing an intentional handball in the penalty area.
After scoring early in the first half, Colombia was protecting a 1-0 lead midway through the second half when France worked the ball into the penalty area when Colombia midfielder Daniela Montoya knocked the ball away from the France attacker with her hand.
While it wasn’t immediately obvious in real-time, it was clear that a handball occurred and it was blatant and intentional.
The big problem here was multi-fold as the referee was screened out of the play by two players and likely could not
see the infraction. In contrast, the assistant referee on the sideline had clear line-of-sight, but may have been too far away to know for certain that the hand made contact with the ball as the France player also hit the ball with her head.
There is also the issue with FIFA choosing to use just three officials and not using assistants on the goal lines. That would have been the official who would have had a clean view and would have been close enough to assist on the call.
This would have tied the score at 1-1 and would have changed the entire complexion of the match.
With Colombia ranked 28th in the world, this was the biggest upset in women’s soccer since FIFA began ranking women’s teams.
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