I sure hope you saw this match, because it was one of the best soccer games I’ve ever seen, men or women. Started off slow, with Norway sitting back and only attacking once in the first half. The U.S. totally dominated, though they only got one goal. Then on Norway’s one push, they scored to tie the game going into the half. In the second half it was all Norway, at least at first. They really began to play and had the U.S. on their heels. Finally the U.S. began to fight back and it looked good for the U.S., but then Norway got a bit lucky with a good bounce and scored to put the ahead — the U.S. was now down a goal for the first time in the entire tournament. The U.S. fought harder and harder, but time was running out. It looked like the gold medal was Norway’s for sure. Two minutes of stoppage time was added as regulation ran out, and the U.S. was desperate. They fought back for possession of the ball and made one last dramatic drive toward Norway’s goal. With less than 30 seconds left, a run up the right flank offered the opportunity for a last cross into the box. But the only was there was tiny Tiffeny Milbrett, a 5’1” mouse among the Norwegian trees. Somehow she skied about the others and got her head to the ball. With less than 15 seconds to go, the U.S. tied the game to send it into overtime!
Incredible, but sadly, that’s all the U.S. had left. A few more attempts in overtime, but then a missed clearance and Norway’s substitute with the fresh legs took advantage and drove the ball under the U.S. goalkeeper. Norway wins the gold medal, 3-2. An awesome game, valiantly fought on both sides, and the closeness of the battle just goes to show how little difference there is between gold and silver. The U.S. should have won based on their play, but that’s the irony of soccer: it’s not about who plays better, but who scores the most, and in this case, Norway came through while the United States missed chances, and that’s the way it ended.