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Before Japan defeated Sweden in the semifinals, Solo said she was "sentimentally cheering for Japan" to reach the final.


MOENCHENGLADBACH, Germany - After anchoring her team to victory over France in the semifinals, U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo started rooting for Japan to knock off Sweden in the second game of the day.

Her wish came true.

"I think with everything they've been through, they're the sentimental favorites," Solo said. "Plus, I have some good friends on the team."

Japan is still recovering from the devastating earthquake that shook the nation last March, killing thousands and leaving many more homeless. But fans will at least have something positive to cheer for after their team reached the final with a 3-1 win over Sweden on Wednesday.

The Asian nation is in the World Cup for the first time and has shocked the competition so far. After finishing the group stage with two wins and a loss, Japan surprised host nation Germany in the quarterfinals before facing a Swedish team that beat the top-ranked Americans in group play.

Goal.com Germany contributed to this report

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