1449 days after the “heartbreak” at Frankfurt, US eves get an opportunity to avenge their defeat of the finals that went down the wire against Japan 4 years ago. US slipped a game which they firmly had in their grip till the last minute of regulation time, by going down in the shoot-out.
Well, soccer is not only about the dazzling array of skill you display, but recorded on the basis of the glittering trophies gracing the locker-room. A year after 2011 World Cup final in Germany, US defeated Japan 2-1 in the London Olympics final to clinch the gold medal.
It hurts to think about it and talk about it,” said U.S. captain Carli Lloyd. “But it is what makes you stronger. It is tough, but it builds character. Now there is nothing I want more than the chance to put it right.”
A cracker of a game is expected when the same two teams lock horns on Sunday at Vancouver. Japan was lucky once more when Laura Bassett’s injury time own-goal shattered England’s dream in the semifinals.
The US team appears to be cautious ahead of this title-clash, with all the experiences in their kitty. Lloyd, Hope Solo, Ali Krieger, Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday all started the last final, with Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath coming off the bench.
Lloyd, Shannon Boxx and Tobin Heath, all missed from the dreaded spot after Homare Sawa restored parity by virtue of her clinical touch in the dying minutes of extra-time. US eves know that they can’t afford to underestimate their opponents.
I don’t want us thinking about Germany,” said veteran striker Abby Wambach, who gave US the lead in the extra-time of the 2011 final. “We will talk. I want us to remember what happened last time and use it as motivation. I want the players who weren’t there to know that it’s no fun coming out of a final having lost. And I want us to think about what we could have done, those tiny little extra bits of effort that might have made a difference.”
Japan’s midfielder Aya Miyama can spell danger to the US defense. This woman played the pivotal role in Japan’s six consecutive single goal win. Sawa, at 36, will be still hovering around coming in as a substitute in her sixth World Cup.
“Put it right,” said Lloyd. “Get the job done.” Lloyd has been a star former in this tournament having scored in all three knock-out games.
The US needs desperately to put it right to clinch the World Cup on Sunday at Vancouver.
Time: 7 p.m. EST/6 p.m. CT
TV channel: FOX
USA path to final: Won Group D, defeated Colombia, China and Germany
Japan path to final: Won Group C, defeated Netherlands, Australia and England