Edmonton Journal

Refs biased toward Canada: Sampson


VANCOUVER — Let the gamesmansh­ip begin.

England coach Mark Sampson has fired an early volley ahead of today’s Women’s World Cup quarter-final with Canada, saying the host country has had an easy ride from tournament referees.

“Without a shadow of a doubt we’re playing the most aggressive team in this tournament,” Sampson was quoted as saying in The Guardian. “Whether they’re overly aggressive is open to interpreta­tion. We’re all aware of the big refereeing decisions that have gone their way. They’ve been given a very dubious penalty (in tournament opener against China) and we can look at the fouls that have been awarded against them.

“We’ve got a qualified referee on our staff and, looking back at the games, he says at least quadruple the number of fouls they’ve actually been penalized for could have been awarded against them. I hope the match referee realizes there’s 22 players and two teams on the pitch.”

Uruguay’s Claudia Umpierrez has drawn the refereeing assignment today.

Canada has been called for 47 fouls in its four matches here, compared with 54 for its opposition. Canadians have drawn five yellow cards, to four for the opposition.

Canada has also given up a penalty, escaping further damage when New Zealand’s Amber Hearn hit the crossbar.

England has received three yellow cards, committing 33 fouls and suffering 30. Only South Korea and Thailand have been called for fewer fouls at the tournament.

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