U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach had a memorable match yesterday after getting punched in the face by a Colombian opponent. It was a huge dirty play that was not necessary at all.
In the first half of the US’s 3-0 win over Colombia, Wambach tangled with Lady Andrade and ended up getting ‘sucker punched’, she says.
Despite her black eye, the 32-year-old striker went on in the second half to score a goal and break the U.S. women’s soccer record for goals at the Olympics with a tally of six.
Footage appears to show Andrade punch Wambach straight in the face, sending her to the ground writhing in pain.
However, the incident went unnoticed by referees and play continued. A slow motion reply appears to show an intentional right-hook to the face.
‘I’m running toward the goal to get position, and I got sucker-punched,’
said Wambach, sporting a black semicircle under her swollen right eye after the game.
‘It’s clear. We have it on film, so it’s up to the Olympic committee and FIFA to decide what to do.’
Wambach said Andrade kept on taunting in the second half and attempted another blow to the face – but missed and hit Wambach’s neck instead. When Wambach scored in the 74th minute to make the score 2-0, the achievement felt particularly sweet.
‘Absolutely. It’s interesting – you think about yourself and what you would do on the street if somebody were to sucker-punch you,’
‘And you have all of the lists of things that you would probably do to retaliate, but this is Olympics and I can’t risk getting a red card, I can’t risk getting a yellow card. We like to call it ‘ice’ – stay ice cold. They’re trying to get me to retaliate, and I’m proud of myself for not doing that.’
Her fans are up in arms about the player’s injury, calling for Andrade to be investigated. They are also very impressed with Wambach’s sportsmanship. Jim Sylvester, an attorney in Texas tweeted:
‘What’s most impt, Abby, is that you responded by competing harder not by retaliating in kind #sportsmanship #integrity #USWNT,’
Unsurprisingly, Andrade’s version of yesterday’s events in Glasgow, Scotland, was different and she dismissed the run-in as an accident. She said through an interpreter:
‘Nothing happened. It was just a normal part of the game. We were both running, she ran across me and we collided. I had my hands in the air. It was an accident.’
Told that Wambach wants Andrade disciplined by the governing bodies, the Colombian said:
’I think they should be, too, because they’re the United States. The whistle always goes in their favor. They were hitting us and hitting us, but there was never a whistle.’
The U.S. team did not file a formal complaint, but it did contact FIFA. U.S. coach Pia Sundhage says such behavior ‘doesn’t belong in the game.’
The disciplinary committee of the world soccer governing body is reviewing the hit to the face that that could compromise Wambach’s and America’s standing for the rest of the Games. FIFA spokesman Alex Stone says no update is expected before Monday.