2000 U.S. Olympic Team
U.S. Olympic women
Tainted golden goal gives Norway Olympic gold 3-2 in thriller.
SYDNEY, Australia (Thursday, September 28, 2000) --– The goal wasn’t disputed, but it probably should have been.
In sudden death, reserve Dagny Mellgren knocked down United States defender Joy Fawcett’s clearing header with her left arm, then ran onto it and scored the winning goal for Norway which took the Summer Olympics gold medal with a 3-2 triumph over the U.S. at Sydney Football Stadium.
Without the benefit of instant replay, the Americans appeared unaware that the deciding goal probably should have been disallowed. Certainly it escaped the attention of referee Sonia Denoncourt and her two assistants.
With Norway on the attack throughout extra time, Hege Riise lofted a long ball to the top center of the penalty area. With Mellgren closing, Fawcett headed it to her left. Mellgren jumping in with a late challenge, and she swung her left arm in the path of the ball. It hit just below her elbow, sending it directly into Mellgren’s path. With American defender Kate Sobrero raising her hand for a hand-ball call, Mellgren slotted the ball right just under the extended left glove of goalkeeper Siri Mullinix.
The loss marked just the second time the U.S. women have been defeated in Olympic or Women's World Cup play, with both defeats coming at the hands of Norway, the only team with a winning record against the Americans at 15-13-2. Despite dominating play for most of the evening, the U.S. surrendered three goals for just the second time in the two Olympic and three World Cup tournaments held to date.
"Norway did what they had to do," U.S. coach April Heinrichs said. "They kept their game plan very simple and they never gave up."
Norway added this title to its 1995 world championship which came after eliminating the U.S. in the semifinals.
"Maybe we are the best team in the world now," Norway coach Per-Matthias Hagmo said. "We have beaten the United States four times this year, China three times."
As well as the U.S. played in the first half, it would have seemed to be on its way to gold. Despite a large edge in possession, however, the Americans had only one goal to show for it.
In the fifth minute, Defender Brandi Chastian ran down a lose ball and touched left to midfielder Julie Foudy. Foudy sent the ball forward to striker Mia Hamm who carried into the left side of the box. She fought off the physical challenge of Norwegian captain Goeril Kringen, geat her to the end line and cut a ball into the center of the box where Milbrett volleyed the ball eight yards into the top left corner for a 1-0 lead.
The defending 1996 Olympic and 1999 Women’s World Cup champion Americans nearly made it 2-0 in the 30th minute when Foudy headed a Shannon MacMillan cross against the crossbar.
Just when it seemed the Americans would take the one-goal advantage into intermission, Norway tied the match at 1-1 in the 44th minute on its only decent chance to that point. Riise sent a right-side corner kick to Gro Espeseth who elevated over defender Sobrero and nailed a powerful header into the lower right corner. MacMillan, guarding the back post, got a foot on the shot, but could not keep it out of the net.
The U.S again dominated in the second half, though not to the degree of the first 45 minutes. Then with 11 minutes left, Mullinix came out for, but missed, a high cross from Margunn Haugenes and Ragnhild Gulbrandsen looped a header home to put Norway 2-1 up.
In injury time, Milbrett's tying goal came when the 5-foot-1 forward outleaped defender Goeril Kringen to knock home Mia Hamm's long cross from the right wing. Regulation ended before the ball was put back into play.
"We may have won the silver medal, but (our) game was golden tonight," Heinrichs said. "I'm incredibly proud of each one and incredibly proud of their achievements . . . We couldn't have started better and it was a coach's dream to push the ball around the way we did and have as much possession as we did."
As the U.S. players prepared to receive their silver medals, Hamm quietly addressed her teammates individually.
She said, 'Hold your head high -- and be proud.' And we were," Chastain said. "I think you could see that in everybody's eyes. We're very, very proud of what we accomplished. And I hope everybody who watches the game understands it wasn't easy."
Norway 3, United States 2 (OT)Lineups: United States - Siri Mullinix, Christie Pearce, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Kate Sobrero, Lorrie Fair, Shannon MacMillan (Cindy Parlow 79), Julie Foudy (captain), Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm, Tiffeny Milbrett. Norway - Bente Nordby, Brit Sandaune, Goeril Kringen (captain), Gro Espeseth, Hege Riise, Solveig Gulbrandsen (Unni Lehn 34), Monica Knudsen (Christin Boe Jensen 91), Marianne Pettersen (Dagny Mellgren 83), Silje Joergensen, Margunn Haugenes, Ragnhild Gulbrandsen.
Shots: United States n/a, Norway n/a. Shots on goal: United States n/a, Norway n/a. Saves: United States n/a, Norway n/a. Corner kicks: United States n/a, Norway n/a. Fouls: United States n/a, Norway n/a. Offside: United States n/a, Norway n/a. Yellow card cautions: Norway - Espeseth 76, Lehn 84, Kringen 91+.
Referee: Sonia Denoncourt (Canada). Assistant referees: Hisae Yoshizawa (Japan), Ana Isabel Perez Assante (Peru). Attendance: 22,848 at Sydney Football Stadium in Sydney, Australia. Weather: not available.