EDMONTON (Canada) - Abby Wambach could face a Fifa reprimand after the United States striker suggested that the French referee, in Monday's Women's World Cup tie against Colombia, "purposefully" booked players who had picked up yellow cards earlier in the tournament.
The US beat Colombia 2-0 at the Commonwealth Stadium but had midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday booked by referee Stephanie Frappart in the first half.
The duo will be suspended for the quarter-final against China.
ACCUSATION AGAINST REF
It seemed like she was purposefully giving those to the players she knew were sitting on yellows. I don't know if it was just a psychological thing...
- Abby Wambach, US striker, on French referee Stephanie Frappart
Wambach, women's football's leading international scorer with 183 career goals, had said: "I don't know if they were yellows.
"It seemed like she was purposefully giving those to the players she knew were sitting on yellows. I don't know if it was just a psychological thing, who knows?"
Rapinoe and Holiday were the only American players who had started the game under the risk of a possible suspension.
"I think I got (the yellow card) for an accumulation of calls, all of which were questionable I felt," Rapinoe said of her booking.
"I guess you could say I accumulated all those fouls so that's worth a yellow card, but Cheney (Holiday) got her yellow on her very first foul of the game, so I didn't think that was fair."
The US had to work for their win and took control of the game only after the sending-off of Colombia goalkeeper Catalina Perez.
Goals from Alex Morgan and Cari Lloyd eventually settled the round-of-16 tie but US head coach Jill Ellis shrugged off concerns over the performance.
"This is the World Cup, I am really satisfied with advancing," she said. "It is about finding a way."
The US will now play China in a repeat of the 1999 final without two of their key midfielders. However, Ellis said her team had the strength in depth to cope with the absences of Rapinoe and Holiday.
"I feel very confident in the players that we have to be able to come on and contribute, and I know that they are going to be confident that they can step up and help us advance," she said.
Earlier on Monday, England fought back to beat Norway 2-1 - their first win in the knockout round of the tournament - to book their last-eight spot, where they will face hosts Canada.
"These players, this team, will go down in English football history - but this journey is not over," said coach Mark Sampson. "Canada have the home crowd, excellent players (and) manager. We need to produce another massive performance to go through."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE