Thursday, July 14, 2011
Japan's Women's Soccer
On Sunday, July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt, Germany, Japan will play the USA for the world title for FIFA's Women's World Cup.
After Japan defeated Sweden 3-1 and the USA beat France 3-1in action on July 13, the two winners will face-off against each other.
This is the first World Cup final for Japan, while the USA are looking for their third World Cup, but their first since 1999.
In the game against the very blonde and strong Swedes, Japanese captain Sawa Homare (surname first) scored the go-ahead goal in beating the Vikings... it was her fourth goal of the tourney, which ties her for the lead in goals scored with Marta of Brazil. You know Marta is great when she is identified by a single name a la Ronaldo, Pele et al.
Japanese player Kawasumi Nahomi rewarded her surprise inclusion in the starting line-up with a pair of goals. Her second goal of the game (she also had the equalizer) turned the match in the second half after she caught Swedish goalie out of the net and lobbed a hard shot from 35 metres, in what was described as one of the goals of the tournament.
Japan's team has been called one of skill, while the Swedes wer all hustle and thrust. Even though, Japan will still have to figure out a way to defeat the USA, as the Yankees have beaten Japan 22 times, zero losses and three ties--including three wins in 2011.
While the Americans have relied largely on perseverance and power, Japan has exhibited the grace and technical skill, and has a more than decent chance to win its first title.
All we (and by that I mean me) at Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife can say is: Kōun, Nippon! Good luck, Japan!
By the way: The tournament has offered some incredibly skillful football. I am not surprised. I have my Level 3 National Coaching certificate for soccer (I am able to coach university and college level teams), and I coached girl's and women's soccer for eight years until I left to go and teach in Japan. My girls always had heart and some talent... I can only imagine how good these women in the tournament are! I've watched a few games, and all I can tell you is for you to tune in on Saturday to watch the 3rd place game between France and Sweden, and then tune in to watch the championship game between the USA and Japan on Sunday. You'll see so highly skilled a match that sex (female versus male) will not even enter the equation.
by Andrew Joseph
PS: In the photo above Sawa Homare (top) after scoring Japan's second goal against Sweden in the semi-final Women's World Cup match. Photo source: American Free Press.
PPS: I misspelled "JAPAN"?????!!!!