Men or women, it doesn’t matter, today’s Women’s World Cup Final between the USA and Japan was one of the best soccer games ever.

The game had just about everything you want in a soccer game: remarkable goals, miraculous saves, comebacks, penalty kicks, and two teams that just want to win so badly.

Japan was carrying the burden of a stricken nation on their backs, and pulled off a great upset over the US.

Team USA struck first on Alex

When Miyama scored to tie the game at 1-1, Japan had a sense of renewed hope.

Morgan’s 69th minute goal. At this point, after the way the US women were playing:

It looked like the game was just about over.

We could never have guessed what was in store.

Japan then tied the game with a goal by Aya Miyama in the 80th minute.

After the shocked USA got their act together, Abby Wambach scored in the 104th minute on one of those headers that we’ve all gotten to know so well.

Again, the game seemed like it was just about wrapped up.

In the 117th minute, Japan’s Homare Sawa scored a goal to bring the game into a penalty kick shootout.

After the US went 5 for 5 in penalty kicks against Brazil, the consensus was that the US would hang on to win the penalty kick battle.

But yet again, we were wrong.

Japan scored on 3 out of their 4 penalty kick attempts, and the US managed a mere one successful attempt.

Japan had won the 2011 Women’s World Cup.

This game just simply went against all of the odds, and no matter who won the game, it was a pure thriller.

Japan winning the World Cup just seemed like it was meant to be, and for the US, it just wasn’t.

After a massive and devestating tsunami, which was followed by horrific earthquakes, which led to radioactivity entering the air from a damaged nuclear powerplant, the country of Japan was in crumbles.

After the nation of Japan was left in crumbles like this, they needed something like winning the World Cup to pick them back up.

Japan winning the World Cup put those crumbles back together.

When Japan was celebrating their World Cup victory, it was hard not to smile.

It is a true feel-good story to see such a stricken nation be so thrilled and excited by this, and it is hard to not break a smile after seeing all of Japan celebrate their victory.

For the US, it’s just going to have to be another “better wait ’till next year.”

The game was thrilling, and if there’s one thing that we can all take away from this, it is:

Things are never etched in stone.

By Sam Brief



  1. It WAS a great game! The Chicago Tribune agreed with you: “It was the most gut-wrenching, emotional and dramatic final in the history of the Women’s World Cup.” Of course your story came out first … 😉

    I love that you can write so elegantly about sports outside the “Big 4.” I’m already looking forward to your Olympic coverage in 2012!

    Question: Do you like the non-sudden death (“no golden goal!”) overtime format? Imagine what might have happened last year if they did it that way in the Stanley Cup playoffs …

  2. I was very young when the USA last won in 1999, but I think (older readers tell me if I’m wrong) that this was the greatest Women’s World Cup ever. Just fantastic action and the final was nothing short of classic.

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