USA vs. Japan 2011: Final Features Top World Cup Scorers Wambach and Sawa
Now that the Americans and the Japanese have defeated the French and the Swedes, respectively, it's time to turn our attention to the excitement to come in the final match of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Team USA will have its hands full with Japan, a team that has arguably played much better in the tournament than the Americans to this point.
Both teams scored 3-1 wins to move on from their semifinal matches, though Japan's victory was decidedly more convincing than that of Team USA. While the American defense struggled to keep the French attack from lobbing shot after shot at beleaguered but resilient goalkeeper Hope Solo before scoring two quick goals in the last 12 minutes of play, the Japanese team stormed back from a 1-0 while building a 14-4 advantage in shots.
This will be Japan's first-ever appearance in the final of the Women's World Cup, though that should do little to deter star midfielder Homare Sawa from doing whatever she can to bring the trophy to shores of the Pacific Ocean.
The 32-year-old Sawa has long been a star of women's soccer in Japan and America, but has finally achieved greater stardom worldwide thanks to her four goals through the World Cup thus far, including the go-ahead score against Sweden in the round of four.
Sawa will come face to face in the final with Team USA's Abby Wambach. The 32-year-old forward has three goals of her own in the tournament and is among the all-time leading scorers in the history of Women's World Cup with 12 goals to her name, placing her two behind Brazil's Marta for the top spot in the record books.
These two standouts have been crucial to their respective team's runs to the final round of the World Cup and both figure to play crucial roles in who goes home jubilant and who walks away empty-handed.
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