Japan downs United States in Women’s World Cup final

There are many lessons to be learned about the game of soccer, and indeed life itself, from Japan’s stirring victory over the United States in the Women’s World Cup final Sunday in Frankfurt, Germany.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Score when you’re winning

It sounds silly, but when you’re dominating the game, peppering the opposing net with shots and imposing your will on the other team, you have to get at least one goal to make it all worth while.

Carly Lloyd missed a golden opportunity at the near post in the opening minutes and Abby Wambach’s blast thumped harmlessly off the crossbar at bit later in the first half.

The United States kept coming in waves, but Japan kept them off the scoreboard – allowing them to get over their nerves and stay in the match.

Sometimes, it just isn’t your day

Japan scored its first goal in the 81st minute when Rachael Buehler and Alex Krieger couldn’t get out of each other’s way trying to clear a ball from the penalty spot.

On some other day, that ball bounces out of the box and away from danger.

Sunday, it landed at the feet of Aya Miyama, who put it past Hope Solo to tie the match.

That forced extra time, and after Wambach’s header put the U.S. ahead again, Japan got another equalizer just three minutes from time.

Again, on some other afternoon, the ball would have come in from the corner and Homare Sawa’s shot wouldn’t have taken an odd bounce off Wambach fooling Solo and tying the match yet again.

Sunday, it did. Which leads me to…

Destiny is undefeated

I am sad that the United States didn’t win the 2011 Women’s World Cup. I’m disappointed that this team, which had that remarkable win over Brazil, didn’t write the storybook ending to the tournament for which we all hoped.

But if a team needed something to cheer about and something to believe in, it was Japan.

They fought back from a goal down twice and didn’t blink in the penalties – which is a far cry from the nervy effort the Americans offered.

For one day, all was right in a place where few things have been lately.

It’s a feel good story for a team that captured our hearts and a nation that needs our prayers.

So, hats off to Japan.

And, as for the Americans, there’s always 2015 in Canada…

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3 Responses to “Japan downs United States in Women’s World Cup final”

  1. Morning News Report; July 18, 2011 | Blogging with Bryan C. Hanks : Kinston Free Press Says:

    […] as our good friend Randy Capps says in his excellent blog about the final, this was a feel-good story about a team playing for their fallen countrymates after that terrible […]

  2. Flagan Says:

    Some random thoughts:

    We dominated most of this game and lost, the French dominated much of the semis yet we beat them.

    For Japan, this game had to be about as thrilling as our victory over Brazil was for us.

    Even though Rapinoe was obviously gassed, I couldn’t have taken her out for several reasons. Heath came in and did what she did in her previous late entry, she showed complete lack of understanding of the stuation. Everyone but her knew that we needed to kill the clock. On two separate occasions, she attacked the box where all the Japanese were waiting and lost the ball. If she would have taken the ball to the corner it is quite possible that there would not have been time enough for the corner kick that led to the tie. The other reason is that Rapinoe has proven time after time to be clutch and in case Japan tied it, I would have wanted her taking one of our PKs.

  3. randycapps Says:

    Yeah, that was an odd one for me, too.

    I think Pia pulled all the right strings until the final, but tactically in the last few minutes, you’d have to say we were lacking a bit.

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