Japan Win Women’s World Cup Final 2011 Beating USA on Penalties

Japan win the Women’s World Cup Final 2011 and are champions of the world tonight after beating USA in a dramatic penalty shootout.

After what has been a traumatic time for Japan with the horrendous Earthquake and Tsunami, the country has something to celebrate tonight after they claimed their first Women’s World Cup win during a dramatic final game.

The Japanese had to twice come from behind after the USA took the lead. The USA started the game strongly, Japan didn’t have much of a lookin in the first 20 minutes of the game the USA were so dominant.

But…and it is a big BUT… they couldn’t score. They came very close on a number of occasions but it wouldn’t go in the net. So many times in football games do we see a team dominate but not score and it comes back to haunt them.

We had to wait a while for the first goal and we had to wait for a USA substitute, Alex Morgan, for it to happen. She brought some needed energy and pace to the attack when she came on.

It was route one football, a long ball through and Morgan latched onto it and hit a great strike into the corner of the Japanese net where the goalkeeper had no chance.

Japan stuck to their game plan and started to grow in confidence as the game went on. It was late in normal time when Japan grabbed the equaliser with about 10 minutes left on the clock.

A comedy of errors in the USA defence allowed Aya Mitama to poke the ball home from close range after the defenders had failed to clear the ball on two occasions.

This took the game into extra time with the game finely balanced with no one team being dominant enough to be able to pick a winner.

Japan are a good passing team though and it is hard work chasing the ball against a team like that, on the other hand, the USA’s direct play has always been effective and their fitness had seen them overcome other teams late on in matches.

It was the goal machine that is Abby Wambach that broke the deadlock, she lost her marker to get onto the end of a great cross from the left wing. Heading home from short distance, she wasn’t going to miss.

So Japan were behind again. Homare Sawa, the talismanic Japanese captain and one of the players of the tournament, was certainly not going to give up.

She showed enormous desire to get onto the end of a near post corner and facing away from the goal she deftly flicked the ball toward Hope Solo’s goal, it took a slight deflection but it didn’t matter, it was always heading in and was a well deserved equaliser.

Their was a red card shown towards the end of extra time, Alex Morgan was brought down just outside the penalty area by last Japanese defender who received her marching orders. But with so little time left on the clock it didn’t really matter too much.

Neither team could come up with another goal in extra time so it was onto penalties, the USA had dumped Brazil out of the Women’s World Cup 2011 in a penalty shootout, could they do the same again?

Two failed USA penalty kicks straight away suggested that this would be Japan’s day and so it proved. The Japanese defender Saki Kumagai took the final kick, very calmly, that sealed Japan’s victory and destroyed USA’s hopes of winning a record 3rd Women’s World Cup.

Japan are the first Asian nation to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup. In another tribute to how they approach the game, they also won the FIFA fair play award.

They only really started playing football seriously in the late 80’s when they set up a proper structure and official bodies. From those humble beginnings to World Champions is a great achievement, especially when you consider that they were not even sure they would be able to play at this years World Cup after the tragedies they had suffered back home.