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WORLD CUP NOTES: Canadian referee Carol Anne Chenard missed in France

Carol Anne Chenard is photographed in Ottawa on May 22, 2016.
Carol Anne Chenard is photographed in Ottawa on May 22, 2016. - Errol McGihon/Postmedia

PARIS — Canadian Carol Anne Chenard was considered an early candidate to referee the final at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup had she not been forced to miss the tournament after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Italian Pierluigi Collina, the most recognized soccer referee of all time and now chairman of the FIFA referees committee, hopes the product of Summerside, P.E.I. is able to make it to France regardless.

“Canadian Carol Anne Chenard, unfortunately, is playing a very difficult game against cancer and we are very confident she will win the game,” Collina said at a media conference here on Wednesday. “All of our thoughts are with her and, hopefully, she will join us for a few days before the final.

“We are really hoping she can be allowed to travel from Canada to France to stay with us, because she is part of our family, part of our team and we miss her a lot. But we are very confident she will win this match.”

Chenard, 42, refereed the Olympic final in 2016 between Germany and Sweden.

The 2019 Women’s World Cup featured 27 referees and 47 assistant referees from six confederations, which included two Canadians.

Marie-Soleil Beaudoin, 36, originally from Quebec and now based in Halifax, has been assigned three games so far at the tournament, including the Round of 16 contest between Brazil and France this past Sunday. She is among the 11 referees selected to remain for the remainder of the tournament.

Canadian Chantal Boudreau, 30, of Regina, has worked two games as an assistant referee, including the Netherlands’ 2-1 victory against Japan on Tuesday.

Collina said he was very pleased with the work of his referees so far in the tournament. Through 44 matches there have been 107 yellow cards issued and three red cards, just one was a direct sending off.

There have been a record 23 penalty kicks awarded, one more than at the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada with eight games left to be played.

The Video Assistant Referee system, used for the first time at the tournament, has checked 441 incidents so far and there have been 29 reviews where referees have gone to the monitor at midfield. There were 20 reviews throughout the entire men’s World Cup in Russia last summer, which featured 64 games.

Incidentally, VAR is not completely reliable. According to FIFA’s own numbers, there have been 25 decisions changed in the tournament and eight final decisions with VAR were deemed wrong.

“It’s not 100% because VAR is used also to make an interpretation of an incident, which is not clearly black or white,” Collina said. “Depending on the interpretation there could be a mistake and we all regret, we had a few wrong decisions and certainly we will continue to work hard to make this (mistakes) number be smaller and smaller and smaller.”

GAME WORTHY OF A FINAL

The Parc des Prince is hosting just one more game at the Women’s World Cup before the scene shifts to Lyon for the semifinal and final, but it will be a big one.

The United States takes on host France in a quarterfinal here on Friday with the winner moving on to face either England or Norway in the semifinal.

“I hope it’s huge and crazy,” said United States captain Megan Rapinoe, who scored two penalties for the defending champions in a 2-1 win against Spain in the second round. “It’s going to be totally awesome and these are the biggest games you dream about as a kid.”

The game is sold out and tickets on the secondary market are hard to come by. The price of hotel rooms in Paris have soared in anticipation of the thousands of Americans who made the trip to France.

The United States media contingent is massive and will be out in full force when both teams hold their pre-match press conferences on Thursday.

The game is expected to be the highest-grossing female soccer game of all time. Some tickets on the secondary market are going for well over 1,000 Euros. By comparison, tickets for the England, Norway quarterfinal in Le Havre can be purchased for 15 Euros on the FIFA website.

“This is what we’ve been looking forward to for so long, ever since the groups were named and everyone started talking about that epic quarterfinal matchup that should be a final matchup and here it is,” U.S. forward Alex Morgan told ESPN. “We’ve been looking forward to this, been waiting patiently, getting the work done in the group stage and the Round of 16 and now we have this epic clash in the quarterfinal match.”

France had some luck getting through the group stage and then had an epic extra-time victory against Brazil in the second round. France’s women’s team is trying to join the men as World Cup champions.

“You have to beat the best to be the best and it’s not going to be easy,” Morgan said. “The whole knockout stage we’ve already seen some major teams get knocked out in the round of 16 that were a little unexpected. For us, it’s just getting pretty excited and pumped about it, knowing this is what we live for, this is why we play the game and we’re excited for it, we’re ready.”

Email: dvandiest@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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