Congratulations to the Japanese women soccer team for winning the 2011 FIFA World Cup in soccer!
They fought courageously, coming back from a goal down twice reasonably late in the game to tie it 2-2 in extra time. Then they won it decisively on in penalty kicks, not needing to finish the set to win it 3-1, becoming the first Asian soccer World Cup champions. Absolutely true to their underdog label to the very end!
The US may have seemed to have dominated play, with 27 shots to a dozen or so by the Japanese. However, it was all an illusion. The Japanese had more shots on goal than the US, at 6-5. The Japanese also had the ball 53% of the time.
The US was the flashier team, but the Japanese was the more consistent team.
On the grander scale, Japan could have used this victory much more than the US, though. Japan is still a nation in turmoil after the earthquakes and tsunamis last spring, and soccer still isn’t that big a sport in the US for interest. The Japanese needed this one far more than the US, somewhat like how the New Orleans Saints football fans needed that Super Bowl a few years ago far more than the Indianapolis Colts fans when New Orleans was still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.
That said regarding US interest in soccer, viewer rating was greater than it’s ever been for a women’s soccer World Cup… and participation is still greater in soccer than any other sport in the US. People just don’t watch it for some reason.
Regardless of nations deserving or not, the Japanese women’s team definitely deserved this for the way they stayed in and came back again and again.
Congratulations ladies! Best Women’s Soccer World Cup Finals ever!
Now, if only the men could learn to play the beautiful game so beautifully…
Congratulations to Japanese captain Homare Sawa for winning the Golden Boot with 5 goals as the top scorer, including the tying goal in the Finals extra time at 117 minutes. She also won the Golden Ball as the tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP). That’s what captains are supposed to do, lead and come through when you need them!
Congrats to Hope Solo for the Golden Glove for best goalie.
Finally, the US women’s team also deserves congratulations for a great performance and tournament. It takes two to make a great game.