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It took less than 90 minutes for the referee to get involved in the action, though not on purpose.
Stéphanie Frappart of France was in charge of the heavyweight bout and found herself in the line of fire on multiple occasions. Things got started with an early attack from the American side that was snuffed out by an offsides call.
Not long thereafter, they were back on offense and Sophia Smith tried to play a ball back across the pitch. She cleared the defense, but did not clear the official.
Frappart took a line drive to the left side. Although she was completely unfazed by the accidental contact, she had to reset.
For the next 71 minutes, it was smooth sailing for Frappart. Both sides went back and forth, but it was the United States that had control in terms of total shots, shots on goal, possession and passing.
None of that mattered because the score remained knotted at 0 and Frappart doesn’t care which side was to come out of the match with a victory. She was there to call an objective, fair match without getting hurt.
That was nearly unavoidable in the 75th. Sweden was pushing into the box and Emily Sonnett went to clear it out. It was a successful clearance, just not for Frappart.
The unsuspecting referee took a ball directly to the noggin. It wasn’t the side of her head or the back of her head. Sonnett’s boot hit her straight in the face.
Frappart pushed through like a champ and kept things moving.
Much of Sunday’s match was chippy. Only two cards were issued despite multiple challenges that could have warranted a booking. Frappart let the third and first-ranked teams in the world play on.
If she could do it, so could the athletes!