The date was July 10, 2011. The United States’ women’s national team were in the quarterfinals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Americans had been recently criticized, as they had lost four games in their last eight months. Before the game, they talked about their resilience. On July 10, 2011, their resilience was shown.
The United States were playing against Brazil—the same Brazil that has been eliminated by the Americans at five of the last seven major tournaments before this game. The game started out with the United States having all the momentum—they scored thanks to an own goal by Brazil in the first 90 seconds of the game. The rest of the first half was an up-and-down game, but the United States went into halftime with a 1-0 lead. The second half, however, was a different story.
In the second half, the game was clouded in controversy. A referee missed an intentional handball infraction by Carli Lloyd, and if seen it would have given her a red card. In the 65th minute, Marta ran into the box, beat two American defenders, jumped up to a ball, and fell down. The referee saw Rachel Buehler pull her down, and gave her a red card. Others saw Marta jump up and fall on Buehler. Either way, she had a penalty.
Cristiane Rozeira stepped up for the penalty, and Hope Solo saved it. However, the referee ordered the penalty to be retaken, and gave Solo a yellow card. Solo did not come off her line, but the U.S. defenders might have taken some early steps. There was not an official reason given. Marta stepped up for the retake and converted it, tying the game 1-1. After that, the Americans tried to push forward, but could not get a good look at the goal. The game went into extra time. Matra scored in the 92nd minute, although the player who fed her the ball was seemingly offside. After that, the biggest goal in FIFA Women’s World Cup history occurred.
The United States were seconds away from being eliminated. Even commentator Ian Clarke thought that the game was over, saying: “It will go down as the USA’s worst performance ever in the Women’s World Cup.” The United States knew they had one last possession, and as if they heard Clarke’s words, they set out to prove him wrong.
Lloyd passed the ball to Megan Rapinow, who lobbed it to Abby Wambach by the post. She headed it in the net in the 122nd minute to not only send the game to penalty kicks, but to save the United States’ World Cup appearance. The header was voted the greatest goal in FIFA Women’s World Cup history, and it earned many nicknames including its most notable nickname: “The Header Heard Round the World.” Everyone heard about it. Although the United States isn’t the biggest soccer hotspot, everyone I knew heard about the goal. Friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and more all talked to me about it. It really was the “header heard round the world”.
The goal changed the entire momentum of the game. Brazil looked lost, defeated, and were shocked by the events that transpired. The United States looked confident, expecting to make their penalty shots and advance to the next stage of the game. And they rode the momentum from Wambach’s header to a 3-1 win over France.. Although the United States isn’t the biggest soccer hotspot, everyone I knew heard about the goal. Friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and more all talked to me about it. It really was the “header heard round the world”.
Klopman, Michael. “U.S. Women Beat Brazil After Stunning Goal At Women’s World Cup (VIDEO).” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 July 2011. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
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Wagner, Laura. “Abby Wambach’s Soccer Career In 8 Iconic Moments.” NPR. NPR, 15 Dec. 2015. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
“Wambach’s Header Voted Greatest Goal.” FIFA.com. N.p., 03 June 2015. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
“2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.