Fans were treated to a fantastic finale in which the Americans twice took the lead, only to be tied by a Japanese team that has had to overcome their share of challenges. The game was extremely exciting with astounding shots, saves and fantastic displays of teamwork from both teams.
Abby Wambach, who seemed to silence her critics and excise her scoring demons again scored a crucial goal to give her team the lead in the first overtime. Wambach fired home a header just out of reach of the Japanese goalkeeper. The American supporters went crazy as it looked as though the US would secure their second World Cup victory. It was for not though, as the defensive miscues continued and Homare Sawa flicked in a header off a corner kick with four minutes to go.
It went to penalty kicks from there and Hope Solo’s heroics were no match for the three failed shots by the Americans. Two saves and a shot over the bar doomed the United States to second place and Japan won the World Cup.
No ill-thoughts should be given in respect to the Japanese. The team has been humble and impressive throughout the tournament. Furthermore, if ever there was a country in need of something great, it’s Japan. Their country has been through a great deal after suffering economic downturn and a devastating earthquake/tsunami.
As much as the American’s blue collar determination embodies much of the American Spirit, the Japanese were the beacon of light to give their country hope. Both teams, both sets of supporters and both countries have a lot to be proud of.