Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images
Homare Sawa's late goal helped life Japan over the U.S.
Unlike the aforementioned game, this one was an American classic for all the wrong reasons. The Japanese came into the final with a combined 0-22-3 record against the U.S. with three of those losses coming this year.
And when the game began, this result looked to be no different. Japan stumbled out of the gate while the U.S. came out guns blazing, littering the Japanese goal with shots. After Abby Wambach's shot went begging off the bottom of the crossbar, the first goal looked to be close behind.
It didn't come in the first half, but Alex Morgan's great run and greater goal to beat keeper Ayumi Kaihori got things going in the 63rd minute.
One would expect the Japanese to turn it on after going down so late in the match, but they continued their patient play, waiting for the perfect opening.
Their tying goal came off of miscue by the U.S. defense. Rachel Buehler tapped a Japan cross to Ali Krieger, who whiffed on the clearance. The ball went right to Aya Miyama who snuck it past Hope Solo.
Throughout the game, the Japanese had done a great job of neutralizing the U.S.'s height advantage on corner kicks. But in the 104th minute, Abby Wambach finally broke through and added another clutch header to her highlight reel off of the Alex Morgan cross.
But again, the Japanese looked relatively unfazed during the second period of extra time, calmly searching for the equalizer.
It came in the 117th minute and, like the U.S., it came from their primary playmaker Homare Sawa. It was similar to Marta's second goal against the U.S., but the flick took an ironic hit off of Wambach's leg and into the net.
There was a relative unease in the air about this PK, likely because it was Japan doing comeback this time. The rattled nerves showed as the U.S. failed on their first three PK attempts, two of which were saved by Kaihori. Solo saved the second shot by Yuki Nagasato but it wasn't enough.
Japan shocked the U.S. on penalty kicks 2-2 (3-1) to win the first World Cup for an Asian nation.
(Click here to watch the highlights)