This will be the third time in recent memory that the United States and Japan have met in the final of a major tournament. In the 2011 World Cup Japan won when the match went to kicks from the mark after 120 minutes, then a year later in the 2012 Olympic games the U.S won 2-1 and took home the gold medal. However, this will definitely be the rematch that the U.S. has been waiting for since 2011.
[quote_box_center]”As a competitor you know in your heart that all the good stuff, none of it counted,” said veteran forward Wambach. “How well we had played, how we had fought back from the brink of defeat in the quarterfinal, all the excitement. We lost. We didn’t finish the job. We weren’t champions. I don’t want us thinking about Germany,” she said. “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.”[/quote_box_center]
If Japan wins this 2015 World Cup title, it will be their second in a row and will put them on par with Germany, who won back to back titles in 2003 and 2007. The Americans however, are trying to win this title for a record third time. Last time the U.S. won was in 1999 against China in PKs at the Rose Bowl in Pasedena, California.
This match will also showcase the two teams with the best defense in the tournament. In the six games played so far the U.S. has only conceded one goal from Australian striker Lisa De Vanna in the first match of the group stage. Defenders Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Johnston have been the stalwart shields at the back, and Hope Solo has performed with the distinction the few times she has been called on.
Defender Ali Krieger is happy with the team’s performance in the last two games:
[quote_box_center]”I’m excited,” Krieger said. ”It is fun to face Japan again, but we are really focusing on ourselves. We have good momentum, there’s a really positive feel around the team, and we will be ready for a great final.”[/quote_box_center]
One big factor in favor of the U.S. will be the atmosphere provided by the crowd. The stadium will definitely be packed with Americans cheering on their team, as more than 52,000 of them showed up in the group stage game against Nigeria. However, Japan has shown they know how to deal with opposition, as they did in 2011 when they beat Germany in their home country during the quarterfinal round.
[quote_box_center]”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.”[/quote_box_center]
Tthe Americans still talk about that final in 2011 and constantly remind themselves of what happened in order to come back stronger next time. Well, that next time has arrived. There are a number of players in the Japanese team who remain from that game, for example midfielder Aya Mayama who is the key player in this Japanese team or Homare Sawa who is playing her sixth World Cup and brings the calm and experience to the team, but we know the U.S. will not underestimate Japan this time around. The pain is still alive, but there is one way to fix it, as Carly Lloyd said “Put it right, get the job done.”