Up against the tournament's sentimental favorite in Japan, the United States is looking for its first world title since 1999.
|USA (4-4-2): Solo; Rampone, Sauerbrunn, LePeilbet, Krieger; Lloyd, Boxx, Cheney, Reilly; Rodriguez, Wambach
Pia Sundhage's women enter the World Cup final with the chance to leave its own mark in American soccer history after being in the shadow of the 1999 for over a decade. Led by a resilent goalkeeper in Hope Solo and a gritty forward in Abby Wambach, the U.S. will use its physicality in an attempt to slow down Japan's quick and techincal attack.
|Japan (4-4-2): Kaihori; Kinga, Iwashimizu, Kumagai, Sameshima;
Ohno, Sakaguchi, Sawa, Miyama;
The tournament's heartsung team, the hopes of an earthquake ravaged nation rest on the Blue Samurai. Lacking the height of most of its competitors, head coach Norio Sasaki emphasizes ball movement, speed and precision passing. Japan tends to focus on scoring early and then employs a superb counter attack.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Japan and the U.S. will be meeting at the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the third time, having faced off in the inaugural event in 1991 and in 1995 in Sweden. The U.S. won 3-0 in 1991, and posted a 4-0 win in the 1995 edition of the tournament.
- Before the three encounters in 2011, the U.S. had last faced Japan in 2008, playing the Asian power twice at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The U.S. came away with a 1-0 win on Aug. 9 in Qinhuangdao, followed by a 4-2 U.S. win on Aug. 18 in the semifinals in Beijing.
- Japan has scored 10 times in five games at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, compared to 13 goals in 16 games during all five previous editions of the tournament.
- Half of Japan’s goals have been scored in the first 20 minutes of action.
- Defender Aya Sameshima is the only player on Japan’s team that currently plays in the U.S., plying her trade with the Boston Breakers of Women’s Professional Soccer.
- Abby Wambach’s goal against France was her 12th in the Women’s World Cup, tying her for third place all-time with Michelle Akers, behind Marta (14) and Birgit Prinz (14).
- Wambach also tied Michelle Akers with 26 points in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Wambach has three goals and one assist in 2011, and is behind Mia Hamm (28) in the U.S. record books.
- Midfielder Homare Sawa is Japan’s leading cap-winner at FIFA Women’s World Cups, with 17 appearances
- U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage played against Sawa in the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sawa was 16 years old.