Women's World Cup 2011: Why Americans Should Rejoice in Japan's Victory

Ezra AmacherContributor IIIJuly 17, 2011

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - JULY 17:  LOC President Steffi Jones (C) hands over the trophy to Homara Sawa of Japan after the FIFA Women's World Cup Final match between Japan and USA at the FIFA World Cup stadium Frankfurt on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Martin Rose/Getty Images

Most Americans consider the 1980 US Men's Hockey Team "Miracle on Ice" victory over the USSR in the semifinal match of the Olympics as the greatest sporting event in the history of our country.

At the time, the two teams were natural rivals due to the Cold War. President Jimmy Carter even considered boycotting the 1980 Olympics, which were to be held in Moscow.

The Americans were heavy underdogs, as the Soviet Union team was nearly unbeatable. Yet somehow, the US won the game and went on to beat Finland in the final and capture the Gold Medal.

If you were alive then and remember the emotions you felt after the Americans' improbable victory over our most hated enemies, maybe you can understand one-tenth the feelings that are going through the veins of the Japanese.

Not because Japan's women's soccer team defeated a country they detest, but their women's soccer team delivered at least a tiny bit of healing from the horrific earthquake and tsunami that destroyed part of their country and killed nearly 20,000 people.

To call today's victory in the 2011 Women's World Cup final as Japan's "Miracle on Ice" would not come close to truly describing how big this win was for the ailing nation. This is arguably one of, if not the greatest sports victory for a country ever, considering everything that has happened in Japan over the last four months.

If you don't believe me, I'd love to know when a national sporting event meant more to a country that was recovering from a very recent tragedy.

Now let's look at this game in hypothetical vision.

If Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and the rest of the Americans could have sealed the deal and brought home the 2011 World Cup trophy, we would have celebrated for a day or two, maybe a week.

Then we would have all gone back to our regular lives, totally forgetting about the amazing run by the US women and for most of us, not caring about the world's most popular sport until the US men were competing in the 2014 World Cup.

I, for one, don't need America to win every (or even one) major international sporting event in order to reassure myself that we are the greatest country on Earth.

Japan, however, desperately needed something of this magnitude to go right for them. They are still very fragile and who knows how much today's win will boost their spirits.

Today will go down as one of the greatest moments in the history of Japan because of what happened in Frankfurt, Germany.

And if it happened at America's expense, so what.