• Friday Jul 03, 2015

    U.S. women, Japan to meet again for silverware

    Action from the FIFA Women's World Cup final between the USA (white jersey) and Japan on July 17, 2011, in Frankfurt, Germany. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)

    VANCOUVER -- For the third time in as many FIFA-related championships, the Olympic champion United States and current-holder Japan will square off in a final, when they meet on Sunday at B.C. Place for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup (FWWC) title.

    The CONCACAF champion is coming off an impressive 2-0 win over Germany, while the Japanese advanced to the tournament decider thanks to an own-goal aided 2-1 victory against England.

    "In order to be the best team in the world at the World Cup, you have to beat the best teams," U.S. forward Abby Wambach said. "We just beat the number one team in the world in Germany and now we face Japan, another team that we have so much respect for.

    "They have an amazing team and they're the reigning World Cup champions so I think it's going to be a fantastic final. Everyone will have to bring their 'A' game and whoever finishes their chances the most will come out on top. Hopefully it will be us."

    Japan twice overcame one-goal deficits in the 2011 FWWC final. It equalized with three minutes remaining in the second extra-time period at 2-2 on Homare Sawa's goal, before ultimately prevailing in a penalty-kick shootout, 3-1.

    “We can’t let that happen again,” remarked U.S. striker Alex Morgan, who has one goal in six 2015 FWWC games.

    In some ways, that loss has been a silent motivating force for the USA.

    "We were talking about that in the locker room after the game, just how horrible that feeling was four years ago," Morgan continued. “Just having that still in the back of our minds. We cannot let the opportunity go."

    In the women's gold-medal match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, the Americans registered a 2-1 win over Japan with midfielder Carli Lloyd netting both goals.

    “It is fun to face Japan again, but we are really focusing on ourselves,” defender Ali Krieger said. “We have good momentum, there's a really positive feel around the team and we will be ready for a great final."


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