U.S., Japan secure spots in WC finalFRANKFURT - Both think of teamwork as being of the highest importance and both are in the final of the Women’s World Cup after 3-1 victories. Yet few teams could be as different as the United States and Japan.
The U.S. team again fed off the emotional high of overcoming fatigue and setbacks to find exhilarating unity and late goals to beat France.
Japan, meanwhile, prided itself on an inner calm when it trailed Sweden early and stuck tightly to coaching instructions to methodically fight back and win.
It leaves the U.S., a perennial power, facing the first-time finalist in Sunday’s final
“These wins, we can’t do it alone. We know a whole nation is cheering us on,’’ said U.S. forward Abby Wambach, who scored the goal that saw the U.S take the lead against France, before Alex Morgan wrapped the match up three minutes later.
After their spectacular escape against Brazil in a quarterfinal ending in a penalty shootout, the semifinal was bound to be a letdown in comparison. Victory though, gave the Americans their first final since winning the title in 1999.
“We didn’t play well today,’’ U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. “However, we find a way to win and that’s a credit to the players’ hearts.’’
Wambach broke a tense 1-1 deadlock with a big header from Lauren Cheney’s corner kick in the 79th minute. It was Wambach’s third goal of the tournament and 12th of her career, putting her tied for third on the all-time World Cup scoring list.
Alex Morgan added an insurance goal in the 82nd minute - her first.
The U.S. had only two days of rest following the Brazil game, their quickest turnaround of the tournament, and there had been concern that fatigue or emotions might get the best of them. But Wambach, who has been playing with an Achilles’ tendon so sore it often keeps her out of practice, again kept going until the difference was made.
“In the end, we’re in the final,’’ she said, “and that’s all that matters.’’
To Japan, a whole lot more matters. In the wake of the March 11 tsunami and earthquake, the Japanese wanted to provide a feel-good story for fans back home.
And they came through.
Following their latest win, they again unfurled a huge banner that said “To our Friends Around the World - Thank You for Your Support.’’
한글 관련 기사 [OSEN]
미국-일본, 2011 여자 WC 결승 격돌
2011년 국제축구연맹(FIFA) 여자월드컵 우승 트로피를 두고 미국과 일본이 다투게 됐다.
FIFA 랭킹 1위 미국은 14일(이하 한국시간) 독일 묀헨글라트바흐 보루시아 파크 경기장에서 열린 여자월드컵 준결승에서 프랑스를 3-1로 제압하고 결승에 진출했다.
미국은 프랑스와 후반 중반까지 1-1로 팽팽히 맞서던 미국은 후반 34분 애비 웜바크, 3분 후 알렉스 모건이 잇달이 골 네트를 갈랐다. 미국은 1991년과 1999년 여자월드컵 우승 이후 세 번째 우승 트로피를 노린다.
8강전에서 세계 최강 독일을 제압하는 파란을 일으킨 일본은 스웨덴을 3-1로 꺾고 결승에 진출, 아시아 팀으로서 첫 우승에 도전한다. 아시아 국가 중에는 중국이 1999년 3회 대회 서 준우승을 차지한 것이 최고 성적이다.
일본은 전반 10분 선제골을 내줬지만 가와스미 나호이의 1골 1도움 활약을 앞세워 세 골을 몰아치며 역전극을 펼쳤다.
미국과 일본은 18일 오전 3시 45분 프랑크푸르트에서 결승전을 치른다.