To those watching it live the Women’s World Cup final didn’t seem over until late on, but it was really all over within 14 minutes.
In a repeat of the 2011 final, the replay could not have been more different. Four years ago the USA had to fight tooth and nail to get past Marta’s Brazil. Then in a cruel twist of fate it was the resilient Japanese who withstood the American onslaught, led by Abby Wambach, coming from behind twice to win a tense penalty shoot out.
The form of both teams before the final suggested a reverse of the 2011 result. The Japanese women who had not won by more the one goal throughout the whole tournament. Relying on their strength in defense, and only conceding 3 goals. The victories over Australia and England had all the finesse of a slapstick comedy. Although, somewhat ironically, it was the Japanese defensive fragility in set piece moves which left them with a mountain to climb early on. Carli Lloyd’s penalty area ruthlessness, and brash opportunism led to a hat trick within 16 minutes and a four goal lead.
Although the Japanese ladies resiliently scraped back two goals, one from a superb move by Yuki Ogimi and another from a major deflection of Julie Johnson, the United States never really appeared threatened. As if to rub salt in the earlier Japanese capitulation the Americans increased their lead with a tap in from more slack defending.
All in all, the writer believes that justice was done. Throughout the tournament the Americans proved their worth as the worlds premier women’s football nation. While an improved new contract for coverage of the professional National Women’s Soccer League is being signed with ESPN, the American starlets proved their appeal; scoring 14 goals while only conceding 5.