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Women's World Cup Final: Japan Wins Final Against USA in Penalty Kicks

Japan clench World Cup title
Japan clench World Cup titleFriedemann Vogel/Getty Images
Jennifer JuneauContributor IIIJuly 17, 2011

Now that the elephant is in the room, let’s name it.  Yes, yes, I do write about women’s football—when I have the privilege to see a match, and no better match to christen myself with than the Women’s World Cup final.

Not only was I won over by this not-a-dull-moment match, I was impressed by the energy from both sides.

Right from kickoff, the US came in strong, with Cheney striking to no avail.  Rapinoe struck out next, losing out to the sidebar.  Wambach plowed in with a killer shot only to meet a crossbar.

Japan's Andō responded with a weak strike that met the hands of the US goalkeeper.

Although they remained scoreless after a handful of strikes, Cheney, Rapinoe and Wambach’s efforts were not in vain. The team pulled together and remained playing with a strong work ethic.

Interception seemed their strong suit, although Japan regained possession at the latter part of the first half.

There was good defending by both sides, but it remained clear the US should have wiped out their opponents in the first half with three or four goals.

Eurosport made their own interception during halftime to talk about transfer rumors in the men’s market, so pardon the intrusion. Before highlights from the women’s game were highlighted from the first half, I might as well inform you this:

US goalkeeper Hope Solo couldn't make the saves she hoped for in penalty shootouts.
US goalkeeper Hope Solo couldn't make the saves she hoped for in penalty shootouts.Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images

Man City’s Tevez is mimicking a recalcitrant kid by stammering about going back to South America; looks like he’ll soon join the Corinthians in Brazil.

Sergio Agüero is to replace Recalcitrant at Man City.

Montolivo quits Fiorentina.

Garay's all Real: leaving Real Madrid for Real Benfica. 

At the start of the second half, US's Morgan replaced Cheney, making an instant impact on the game by whipping the ball to break the sound barrier in the 69th minute and finally ending the unnerving scoring drought in front of over 48,000 spectators in the stadium in Frankfurt, Germany.

Team spirit from the US was soaring, indicative of a cheerleading squad.

Japan have been defeated 22 out of 25 times by the US and equalized to lessen the record in the 81st minute by Miyama.

Far from a clean game with one yellow card and one red card, at no time was this match boring. 

The fast-paced game with edge-of-your-seat plays consisting of a volley of runs, strikes and saves between sides with the most intense moments coming as the game lapsed into overtime.

Stamina is tested as both cup contenders seek to send their opponents packing.

Heartwarming moment as Japan win world title for the first time.
Heartwarming moment as Japan win world title for the first time.Thorsten Wagner/Getty Images

The first part of halftime was possessed by dispossession, clearing the ball and striking off-target calls. 

Wambach’s header (her fourth goal in the World Cup) off a pass by Morgan in the 103rd minute sent US fans in hopes to see their side clench the World Cup for the third time.

But what goes up must come down: In the 116th minute, Japan's Sawa equalized with a spirit to write home about.

A free quick in the 121st minute seemed an imminent goal, but as the US wrestled with Japan’s defense, the opportunity proved useless and sent the teams into penalty shootouts.

The upset the US caused Brazil during shootouts went in the opposite direction in the final against Japan.

Japan's goalkeeper was almost flawless in saving the ball, and the US couldn't seem to eye their target, handing Japan a much deserved world title.

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