MANCHESTER, England - Call it a legitimate complaint. Or call it a big underdog trying to gain some sort of mental edge on the eve of a big game at the Olympics.

Either way, the coach of the Canadian women's soccer team took a swipe at the Americans on Sunday, accusing the U.S. team of "highly illegal" tactics.

John Herdman said the Americans go beyond the rules with their physical play on set pieces.

"One of the big threats we've got to take care of, and what we've paid attention to, is the illegal marking in the box on their corners and free kicks," Herdman said. "Some of the blocking tactics, which are highly illegal, we'll keep an eye on them in the game. We've starting working on that in training without trying to injure our players."

Herdman said he also hopes to "raise awareness" of the issue with game officials when Canada plays the U.S. in the semifinals on Monday at Old Trafford.

"Obviously they're trying to free up a key player, but in a very illegal way. ... The U.S., it's what they do well," he said.

Herdman cited an example from the Americans' victory over France in the Olympic opener, when Abby Wambach headed in a corner kick in the first half. He said U.S. defender Amy LePeilbet "took a good battering" while making a move that freed up Wambach.

Canada is winless in its last 26 matches against the U.S., going 0-22-4 since a 3-0 win at the Algarve Cup in 2001. The all-time series tilts 43-3-5 in favour of the Americans.

The U.S. has won the last two Olympic gold medals, while a win Monday would guarantee Canada's first Summer Games medal in a traditional team sport — not counting rowing or equestrian — since a men's basketball silver in 1936.

"The Olympics is all about people trying to set personal bests and breaking world records, and I think for this group of players, that's what they're dreaming about," Herdman said. "I think the Olympics is one of those special occasions where things do happen, especially in these tournament formats. ... This is what we're trying to say, you know: 'Dare to dream.' You've got to be able to get out there and see something, see a bigger vision than normal people can see."

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  • Bounced To Quarter-Finals

    Canada guard Shona Thorburn (6) and forward Natalie Achonwa (11) walk off the floor as Australia centre Elizabeth Cambage (14) and forward Laura Hodges (11) celebrate their win in Women's Basketball. Canada will likely play USA in their quarter-final game.

  • Débutante

    Canada's Monique Sullivan laps the track after racing in the first ever Olympic women's keirin final. Sullivan failed to advance to the quarter-finals.

  • Roger That

    Canadian gymnast Brittany Rogers performs during the artistic gymnastics women's vault final. She placed 7th overall. Fellow Canadian gymnast, Ellie Black failed to score after injuring her knee on her first vault.

  • Horse Play

    Tiffany Foster's horse was disqualified from competition for having a scratch on its leg. The disqualification is now being appealed and Foster may be able to rejoin competition.

  • N' Sync

    Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon (right) and Elise Marcotte, both of Montreal, in the synchronized swimming duet technical routine. They ended in fourth.

  • 42 Kilometres Later

    Ethiopia's Tiki Gelana crosses the line to win the gold in the women's marathon.

  • Sister, Sister

    Venus Williams, right, and Serena Williams of the United States celebrate their victory against Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic during the gold medal women's doubles match.

  • Silver Is Not Her Colour

    American gymnast. McKayla Maroney, missed the gold after an upsetting fall after her second vault. She was predicted to win gold.

  • King Of The Court

    Britain's Andy Murray celebrates after defeating Switzerland's Roger Federer to win the men's singles gold medal match.

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  • Closing Ceremony

    Christine Sinclair carried the flag for Canada and the hosts staged another star-studded show to close off the London Games.

  • Party Time

    Canada's athletes celebrate at the Olympic Closing Ceremony. (Frank Gunn/CP)

  • Canada's Flagbearer

    Christine Sinclair carries the flag for Canada at the Olympic Closing Ceremony. (CP/Frank Gunn)

  • They're Back

    British band 'The Spice Girls' perform during the Closing Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Posh At The Games

    Victoria Beckham performs as Posh Spice with British band The Spice Girls during the Closing Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Strut Their Stuff

    British model Naomi Campbell, fourth right, walks with other models during the Closing Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Still Got It

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  • Baby, You're A Firework

    Fireworks explode over the Olympic Stadium at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

  • Wavin' Flag

    The Olympic flag is handed over to the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, the host of the 2016 Olympic Games. (AP)

  • Soak It All In

    French athletes sit and watch as the Olympic Closing Ceremony come to a close. (AP)

  • Hometown Pride

    An athlete holds up the British flag during the Closing Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

  • Day 16

    And after 16 days or winning, losing, scoring and missing, the London Games have come to an end. Canada's medal count remained at 18, while the U.S. would go on to to win a gold in men's basketball. Russia defeated Brazil in men's volleyball to take home a gold and the Italian men's water polo team fell to their Croatian counterparts to secure a silver medal.

  • Spain's Got Game

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  • Kiss The Podium

    Members of the gold medallist team from Russia kiss the podium during the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.

  • Alekno's In The Air

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  • Right Jab To the Face

    Russia's Egor Mekhontcev, right, fights Kazakhstan's Adilbek Niyazymbetov in a light heavyweight 81-kg gold medal boxing match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. Mekhontcev won the gold and Niyazymbetov won the silver.

  • Marathon Men

    Gold-medalist Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, left, competes with Kenya's bronze-medalist Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, center, and silver-medalist Abel Kirui in the men's marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.

  • Pink And In Sync

    The team from Russia performs during the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.

  • Elation

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  • Viva Italia

    Italy's Emanuele Birarelli (15) reacts following the final point of a 3-1 win over Bulgaria in the men's bronze medal volleyball match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.

  • There's A Reason The Call Him King James

    United States' LeBron James dunks during a men's gold medal basketball game against Spain at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London.

  • The Smell Of Sweet, Sweet Victory

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  • DAY 15

    Canada wins yet another bronze medal in men's K1 200m kayak event, and Mexico defeats Brazil for the gold medal in men's soccer. Canada had an another Olympic upset and lost the bronze medal in the 4x100 relay due to a disqualification. Jamaica set a world record.

  • Tearin' Up Our Hearts

    Canada's Justyn Warner is comforted after the team was disqualified from third place in the men's 4x100-meter relay.

  • Jamaican Us Crazy

    Jamaica's Usain Bolt reacts as he finishes ahead of United States' Ryan Bailey in the men's 4 x 100-meter relay.

  • XOXO

    Britain's Mo Farah kisses the track after winning gold in the men's 5000-meter final during the athletics.

  • Love On Top

    Sharif Sharifov of Azerbaijan celebrates after he beat Jaime Yusept Espinal of Puerto Rico for the gold medal during the men's 84-kg freestyle wrestling competition.

  • Race Walk It Out

    Russia's Elena Lashmanova celebrates winning the women's 50-kilometer race walk.

  • Spike!

    United States mb Foluke Akinradewo, left, and Destinee Hooker react during the women's gold medal volleyball match against Brazil.

  • Buck Off

    Hwang Woojin, of South Korea, and his horse Shearwater Oscar, fall down after the horse bucked after the starting bell sounded to start their run in the equestrian show jumping stage of the men's modern pentathlon.

  • Sailing Away

    From left to right Spain's Elliot 6m crew Angela Pumariega, Sofia Toro Prieto, and Tamara Echegoyen celebrate after winning the gold medal at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in Weymouth and Portland, England. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

  • Oro

    Mexico's Hector Herrera (6) and Mexico's Oribe Peralta (9) celebrate winning the gold medal with teammates in the men's soccer final against Brazil.

  • Mistakes Happen

    Bronze medallist Belarus' Liubou Charkashyna cries after a performance during the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around final.

  • Gold Medal Ribbon

    Russia's Daria Dmitrieva performs during the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around final.

  • Settles For Seventh

    Canada's Catharine Pendrel (2) competes in the Mountain Bike Cycling women's race.

  • Australia's Got Talent

    Australia's Jared Tallent competes in the men's 50-kilometer race walk.

  • Express Yourself

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  • Splash Zone

    Amro El Geziry of Egypt, left, and Nicholas Woodbridge of Great Britain swim the 200-meter freestyle during the swimming portion of the men's modern pentathlon.

  • Fencing Is Modern

    Britain's Samuel Weale looks up during the fencing section of the men's modern pentathlon.

  • DAY 14

    Canada wins another bronze in men's open-water marathon and placed 4th in synchronized swimming. U.S. women's team set a world record in the 4 x 100 relay and Bahamas beat the men's team in the last stretch of the race.

  • Blade Runner

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  • Bahamas FTW

    Bahamas' Ramon Miller beats United States' Angelo Taylor across the line to win the men's 4 x 400-meter relay.

  • WOOOOAH

    France's Renaud Lavillenie clears the bar in the men's pole vault final during the athletics.

  • Going Down..

    Kenya's Hellen Onsando Obiri leaps over United States' Morgan Uceny during the women's 1500-meter final during the athletics.

  • United States' Morgan Uceny reacts after falling during the women's 1500-meter final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa De Olza)

  • Throw It Up

    South Korea's head coach Hong Myung-bo is hoisted up by his players after the team won their men's soccer bronze medal match.

  • They've Got The Beat

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  • Bump, Set, Boom

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  • Ouch!

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  • Underwater Cam

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  • Open Water

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