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After an incredible game that went into 30 minutes extra time and then a nail-biting round of penalty kicks, the Japanese soccer team is now world champions!
The game was characterized by high intensity play from both teams but it wasn’t until 70 minutes into the play that Alex Morgan blew past the goalkeeper and scored to 1-0 United States. However, only 12 minutes later, Aya Miyama snuck the ball right in front of the net and reduced the score to 1-1.
The American team felt obviously threatened and started playing more aggressively but failed to regain their advantage before the whistle. An extra 30 minutes was added and not long after, Aya Miyama got a yellow card for dissent. It didn’t take long after that for Abby Wambach to score a beautiful, perfect placed header into the Japanese goal – but the response came quick and Japan tied once again. Only 3 minutes went by before Japan’s Azusa Iwashimizu was handed the first red card ever in the Women’s World Cup Final and handed the USA a free kick. The attempt though, was blocked and the game went into penalty kicks that lasted 9 minutes with amazing saves by Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori – and despite Abby Wambach hopeful goal, Japan took the last shot of the match and won.
Viewers around the world were treated to an amazing final of the Championship 2011. The excitement accelerated drastically in those 20 final minutes of the regular game time – the USA team were the strongest but Japan managed to both times outsmart their defense with skillful technique. Both goalkeepers did an excellent job and the play was admittedly a close call.
Japan’s final goal sent the team in ecstatic celebration while the American’s seemed shocked by the result. Especially Hope Solo were visibly upset and throughout the award ceremony, she kept a stone face. Abby Wambach seemed to handle the second place a little better as she went to congratulate the Japanese team.
Among the crowds were the German Chancellor Angela Merkel who was very pleased to see Japan take the title as world champions. The Women’s World Cup final also happens to collide with Mrs. Merkel’s birthday and she told interviewers after the game how happy she was to have attended the final.