Sunday, July 17, 2011

Congratulations to Japan

I've been avidly watching the FIFA Women's World Cup, cheering madly for the U.S. I believed that after the amazing win over Brazil last Sunday that destiny was on the side of the Americans, but as often happens in sport my hopes for a third American cup were dashed.

The nation of Japan probably needed this a lot more than the U.S. did and my hat is off to their team -- a team that showed the same pluck and grit that the U.S. did in its match with Brazil. Japan defeated the defending champion Germany in the quarterfinals in extra time, soundly thrashed Sweden in the semis after falling behind early, and came back not once but twice against a superior American team that dominated most of the game.

The U.S. had several chances early to put the game away but simply couldn't seem to put the ball in the net, missing narrowly on both sides while hitting the goalposts and the crossbar with shots. In the end, two defensive lapses in communication were all it took to give Japan the trophy.

I'm disappointed, sure, but I still want to congratulate the U.S. team on a great tournament and Japan on a great victory. All in all, the tournament was a great one, proving once again that women can certainly play this game at an extremely high level.

I leave you with the goal of the tournament, Abby Wambach's header in the added minutes of extra time off a brilliant pass from Megan Rapinhoe that sent the U.S. into PKs against Brazil -- without which they would not have been in the final.

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