In one of the more amazing soccer matches in recent memory, the U.S. Women's National Team came back from the dead to defeat Brazil on penalty kicks in their Women's World Cup quarterfinal matchup in Dresden, Germany on Sunday.
But it seemed like the U.S. was competing against more than just Marta and the stellar Brazilian squad.
After an own goal that put the USA up 1-0 just 74 seconds into the match, the refereeing crew, led by Austrian Jacqui Melksham, made life more difficult for the Americans than they deserved.
A comedy of error-plagued decisions put the U.S. even with Brazil—and down a player—in the 68th minute.
Later, two minutes into extra time, another mistake allowed Brazil to take a 2-1 lead, a lead that—it appeared—would put them through to the semifinals on Wednesday against France.
But, "No!" said the U.S. women.
Abby Wambach scored with seconds to play to tie the match, and Hope Solo made a fabulous right-handed save on a penalty kick to lift the Americans past Brazil.
Still with the cards stacked against them, it wasn't easy for Pia Sundhage's squad. Here's why.