Live Blog Of The FIFA Women’s World Cup Final: USA-Japan

17 Jul

Can this be it? Will the United States cap off their run through the World Cup with a victory over the upstart Japan squad, giving them a record-breaking three Women’s World Cup championships? Or will their miracle come from behind, last second victory over the favored Brazilian team go for naught? Be sure to keep us open in a tab throughout the game and refresh from time to time as we present you with yet another Strong Move Live Blog, this one chronicling the match between the United States and Japan. Coverage starts at 2:45 EST, but I’ll probably jump on a little earlier. Be there or be a failure.

1:31 – We have a little over an hour until the game actually starts, but I’d just like to say that I am completely flabbergasted that probably THE most successful post on this blog has been the post-mortem blog I did for the United States-Brazil women’s match last week. A blog founded on all things male and our most successful post was on…WOMEN’S SPORTS?!?! That’s irony incarnate. But hey, I’ll take it. We’re all about giving the people what they want.

1:52 – Speaking of giving the people what they want, here’s a bonus picture of Alex Morgan…

And Hope Solo. We haven’t forgotten about her, just because I’m more fond of Miss Morgan.

Hey, we’re a man’s blog, we’re gonna fawn over these girls. Athletic, talented, AND hot?! Mmmmm, yes please!

2:01 – Heather Mitts too.

2:03 – And that’ll be pretty much it for the male chauvinism in this entry. Just reported that Amy Rodriguez will be on the bench to start the game, Lauren Cheney will get the nod in her place. She’s a bit more of a midfielder, but they’ll probably change the alignment a bit. Rapinoe also getting the start as well.


2:07
– HOLYFUCKINGSHIT! On the flip side, check out this video of Abby Wambach getting a serious gash on her forehead then getting it STAPLED and not even flinching! Thanks to Deadspin for having this catch my attention.

2:21 – Japan really has the underdog thing going for them; who would’ve thought they would’ve come this far? The upset victory over Germany really propelled them. I like the way they play: fast with a lot of passes. That’s about the extent of my knowledge of Japanese soccer. I really think for the U.S. to win this game they gotta control possession, especially at midfield. The substitutions and possible realignment reflect that myself and the coaches are on the same page. Going on the record and saying the U.S. takes it 2-1. Nice try Japan, thanks for playing. I just think the stage is way too big for them.

2:25 – By the way, if you think I’m gonna write out all the names on the Japan team, you’ve got another thing coming.

2:28 – I have never heard Hope Solo talk until now. Her voice is hotter than she is if that makes any sense.

2:33 – And the views keep coming! For…THE POST-MORTEM BLOG?!?!?! Guys guys, that’s old news. Hop on here folks, this one is for the game tonight!

2:40 – Five minutes til showtime. Pretty solid crowd. Also just realized this is the first time I’ve ever heard Japan’s national anthem. I give it a B-, nothing special. And here’s our national anthem, which I’d give an A- just for the record.

2:44 – Close to four in the morning in Japan?! I’m sorry, if this game was at that time here, I’d be sleeping. Actually, who am I kidding? I’d be up, I have nothing to do. I’d just need better drugs to stay up.

2:45 – 4-4-2 alignment but I agree with Foudy, it’s gonna be more like a 4-4-1-1 with Wambach playing forward, Cheney a little further back. Really like Rapinoe getting the start, love the energy she provided anytime she’d come into the game. AND HERE WE GO, WE’RE OFF!

2:46 – Cheney with a chance early, but tries to take it herself. Unfortunately no one around cause she could’ve passed it into the box if anyone was home so they could’ve slammed it in. Corner for the U.S. Nice start.

2:49 – Damn, these Japanese are fucking fast!

2:50 – Really intriguing matchup, love the contrast in styles. Makes for a good game to watch. Lots of open spaces for Japan to work with. And here comes Wambach…

2:52 – Nothing doing on that chance, the U.S. should be more patient with their opportunities, they’re gonna need to control the tempo a little better. The speed of Japan is really gonna test the endurance of the United States. But they have to be patient. Approaching eight minutes in the match.

2:54 – A NEAR MISS BY THE U.S. Ball played from the corner by Rapinoe, just went wide of the post. Nice look to Cheney. Wambach then followed with a blast that just went north of the crossbar. Japan’s defense seems on the ropes a bit.

2:56 – Every long pass to Ohno or any other forward for Japan it seems like they can catch up with it.

2:57 – LLOYD MISSES OVER THE CROSSBAR AND THEN RAPINOE GETS HER CHANCE BUT MISSES ON THE OPPOSITE POST. Lots of opportunities so far, you can’t ask for much more, but you gotta capitalize. Still under fifteen minutes have elapsed in the match and a handful of open looks for the U.S.

3:02 – Soccer fever in the USA, says Darke, after Obama tweeted about the women’s team. One can only hope. Can this be the final piece for soccer to catch on in this country? I doubt it, but we can only hope.

3:04 – Rapinoe hits the post. Absolutely love the way she plays, she’s a difference maker. The unsung hero of the team.

3:06 – Ian Darke is a better man than me for just plowing through these names. Then again, he’s a professional and I’m not. When I called games for Rutgers, I had to learn all the names. Granted, the University of Tokyo isn’t in the Big East but still.

3:08 – First foul of the game called on Rapinoe. Smooth game so far. Over twenty minutes have gone by, still 0-0.

3:10 – Corner kick coming up for the U.S…

3:10 – …and Wambach plays it right to the goalie. Set pieces will be important, cause like Foudy said, Japan is much shorter than the United States. Can you really say that? I mean, I guess it’s true but still.

3:13 – Approaching thirty minutes, I’d say advantage USA thus far. Yet, a lot of squandered opportunities and Solo hasn’t really been tested so far, which I do not like. All you need is for some action on her side when she hasn’t seen much. That’s how mistakes happen.

3:14 – PERFECTLY PLACED PEACH BY WAMBACH HITS THE CROSSBAR AND MISSES. Another unlucky bounce for the U.S.

3:16 – Now Japan with a chance, an excellent pass. Poor angle and Solo easily scoops it in. First time Japan has been able to get past the United States line of defense really.

3:20 – No World Cup in 12 years for the U.S.? They’re talking like as if they’re trying to break the Curse of the Bambino here.

3:22 – Christie Rampone with an effort that’s too strong. The more missed opportunities, the more of an advantage I give to Japan. Japan knows they’re still in the game and the psychological factor of so many near-misses could haunt the U.S. This is how upsets happen. They’ll start pressing.

3:25 – Wow, Japan is so dangerous on those long passes just cause of their speed they can get under it. They showed why right there, but Solo comes up and grabs it. Japan reminds me of the 1998 Minnesota Vikings. Banking on the long ball and speed.

3:26 – About five minutes to go in the half depending on stoppage time. Looks like the first half will end scoreless.

3:27 – Boxx crosses it in for a nice look, but no matter, the refs deem it went out of play before the pass. So far the officials haven’t been able to put their stamp on this game as they did with the quarterfinals match between the U.S. and Brazil.

3:31 – Japan with some decent looks before the conclusion of the first half. And there’s the whistle. Looks like this game is gonna be tighter than some people thought. Expect a wild second half. Lots of pressing by the U.S., but not enough converted chances. Let’s see if fatigue plays a factor for either team in the second half. That’s going to be the difference maker in this game. Like I said, so far I think the United States has played better than Japan and have been able to implement their game plan, but I give the advantage right now to Japan. I think the U.S. does a better job playing the underdog role. I still think they’ll take this game, but it’s gonna take another Herculean effort towards the end to pull it off.

3:41 – Apparently, Coach Pia Sundhage is asking the team to be more aggressive in a very animated halftime speech according to Bob Holtzman. Uh oh, don’t like the sound of that. That’ll open up more chances for Japan, especially if they don’t capitalize. Alex Morgan seen warming up and you can bet that she’s gonna be coming in at some point. The question is: for whom?

3:44 – Solid amount of views thus far, so while there are commercials on the television, this is my chance: BOOKMARK US, MAKE US YOUR HOMEPAGE, DO WHATEVER. We have a lot cooking for you guys. Be sure to check out our “Greatest Hits” on the side bar for some of our best posts and be sure to look for more in the two running series we have, #BandsYouNeedToSeeLiveBeforeYouDie and Mein Kampf: A Server’s Manifesto.

3:47 – Action is starting up once again. Lauren Cheney has her foot wrapped in ice with an undisclosed injury, so Alex Morgan comes in for her to start the second half. She does bring more speed and some fresh legs.

3:48 – Agree to disagree Tucker Max. His latest tweet, “Even with hot ass girls like @alexmorgan13 & @hopesolo running around, soccer is still boring as shit.” Just because it’s 0-0 doesn’t mean this game is boring and I hope this live blog and our other one has shown you why.

3:51 – A SCRUM IN FRONT OF THE GOALPOST AFTER A BRILLIANT CROSS. MORGAN CAN”T FIND A WAY TO PUT IT IN AND JAPAN CLEARS IT. Another missed chance for the U.S.

3:52 – Lloyd with some space, but she pushes it and no one is there to help her out. Bad angle and a desperation shot. This is what I feared going into the second half. Have to be patient and not push, your chances will come. Can’t open it up for Japan, they’re way too fast. And with that, Wambach shanks it.

3:55 – Starting to learn some of the Japanese names. I know Ohno and Ando. Say that last sentence five times fast.

3:56 – A corner coming up for Japan. This is not looking promising for the U.S.

3:57 – Nothing comes of it however, and the pass in goes untouched. A really nice look though. Play resumes as normal. Corner now coming up for the U.S.

3:58 – Way too much air under these corners for the United States, it gives Japan a lot more time to react and get under the pass. Set pieces were gonna be critical, just blast it in and use your height advantage.

4:00 – About sixty minutes have gone by in this match and still scoreless. I said 2-1 and I’ll stick to it, but this is not the kind of game many people expected.

4:03 – Japan has done a nice job adjusting on defense and they’re really putting the clamps on Wambach and Rapinoe.

4:03 – Another corner with a lot of air under it. We’ll see what they do with this upcoming one…

4:04 – Nothing doing AND JAPAN WITH A BREAKAWAY…OOOOOOOH but the flag goes up! Questionable call, but this is precisely why the U.S. can’t push as much.

4:06 – Nice header by WAMBACH but WHAT A SAVE! Just gets a hand on it does the Japan goalie.

4:07 – And just like that, Japan subs out the only two players I knew.

4:08 – Exchange between me and my mom just now.

Her: “What’s the score?”

Me: “Zero zero”

Her: “How boring!”

This is why soccer will never catch on in the States. By the way, she’s seen exactly zero minutes of this game.

4:09 – AND ALEX MORGAN WITH A STRIKE ON A ONE ON ONE, GREAT PLACEMENT WITH EXCELLENT FORCE, GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAL

4:11 – With about twenty minutes left in the match, the U.S. pulls ahead 1-0. Morgan can expect some more marriage proposals on her Facebook. Also, I’ll give you one guess as to who set up that goal? Yep, Megan Rapinoe.

4:12 – This game is far from over however.

4:13 – We can’t bank on soccer catching on in the United States, but we’re witnessing the birth of a new superstar for U.S. women’s soccer: Alex Morgan. She will be the biggest winner from all of this.

4:16 – It might be boring and no one wants to see this, but I think it’s time for the U.S. to sit back and simply play ball control. You still got a few substitutions left. Last thing you want is for Japan to connect on one of their long passes after a missed chance to knot this game up.

4:19 – Lyme disease? What the hell?

4:20 – About ten minutes to go, Japan is gonna need to dig deep here.

4:21 – ……..

4:22 – TERRIBLE clear by Krieger and Japan TIES IT UP, 1-1. Great opportunistic goal by Japan.

4:24 – What an exciting game so far. Anyone who says otherwise is simply sexist. An aside: read our post titled “Quest For Ratings”, where we present a scoring system for female looks!

4:26 – That goal could haunt the U.S., just a careless error on the back end. This game would look MUCH different if they still had that goal lead. In fact, if not for that goal, it would certainly be a two goal lead. Japan content just playing for extra time at this point.

4:28 – The longer the game, the more views we get. PLAY ON!

4:29 – If you like what you’re reading, like us on Facebook, comment, Tweet us, do whatever. And of course, don’t forget to read all of our other posts. Japan with a near miss there, but self-promotion takes precedence right now. Just kidding. Kinda.

4:31 – Lloyd loses her footing in the box, U.S. controlling it. Two minutes added time.

4:32 – O’Reilly way too strong. Looks like it’s EXTRA TIME.

4:33 – Bonus video of the U.S. goal with a fat kid flashing the camera during the celebration as we go into extra time. I need to take a tinkle. Potty break

4:37 – Isn’t it fitting if this game ends in PK’s? Damn, I hope not but penalty kicks are pretty awesome.

4:39 – Just for all of you non-soccer fans, extra time is NOT golden goal format. Two periods and then if it’s still tied, it’s penalties. Wambach with a solid header that’s grabbed by the Japanese goalie.

4:40 – What I mentioned before and now Foudy just mentioned: U.S. with still two subs. One of them is Rodriguez…

4:41 – Rapinoe with a cross that’s waaay too strong. Slow paced so far in extra time, neither team really making any Strong Moves thus far, kinda just feeling each other out.

4:43 – As much as I was pumped when Spain took the World Cup in 2010, this has been a better finals game. Morgan with a nice chance going one on two, makes her own shot, but hooks it wide. I can’t stress how fantastic she’s been in this game so far.

4:45 – First yellow card of the game goes to Miyama. Very clean game though other than that. Rodriguez and Cox are warming up on the sidelines for the U.S.

4:47 – About halfway through our first fifteen minute period and not much doing thus far on either end…

4:48 – Nice attack by Wambach on the play in from O’Reilly, but can’t get in front of her defender so it amounts to nothing. Darke mentions the it is now close to dawn in Japan. What a surreal moment this must be over there.

4:49 – Heather O’Reilly has done an excellent job of pushing the ball forward, another unheralded part of the team. A couple minutes away from the 105 mark.

4:51 – WAMBACH DOES IT AGAIN, HEADS IT IN ON A CROSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MAKES IT 2-1 USA USA USA

4:52 – The U.S. had been threatening with a few mildly dangerous crosses, but that one by the one and only Alex Morgan does the trick and puts them up by one. Right place, right time for Wambach and a great job of diagnosing the play by Morgan.

4:54 – The end of the first period of extra time comes. The U.S. up by one. Can they hold on for another fifteen minutes?

4:55 – And now all the sportswriters on Twitter are all on the Alex Morgan train. Remember, you read it here first folks. Alex Morgan is the future of American soccer.

4:57 – A scary set of fumbling around, reminiscent of the first goal, but this time the U.S. clears it. About twelve minutes to go before the U.S. are champions.

4:59 – The Japanese are not giving up without a fight. A few OK looks. Approaching ten minutes to go. U.S. controlling it now.

5:01 – SOLO WAY OUT OF POSITION, GREAT CROSS IN BY MIYAMA, BUT THE U.S. ABLE TO SALVAGE IT BECAUSE NOBODY WAS HOME TO KNOCK IT THOUGH FOR THEM. Score stays 2-1. Play seemed very similar to the tying goal against Brazil.

5:02 – Rapinoe gets subbed out and gets a huge ovation. Well deserved.

5:03 – Close to five minutes left. Japan has it. They have to press now, but WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY. Solo playing with fire, one of Japan’s long passes almost connected. Rampone knocks it away. The U.S. has been very fortunate thus far in extra time. Two now very near misses a few minutes apart from each other. Solo is a little dinged up.

5:06 – Hole. Lee. Shit.

5:06 – Solo too slow to react and on a corner kick, JAPAN TIES IT 2-2. My oh my, what a fucking game. Three minutes left til penalties. The underdog Japanese stay at it!

5:08 – O’REILLY WITH A CROSS IN TO WAMBACH AND SHE BOOTS IT WIDE! Score stays tied, another great chance for the U.S. Remember, U.S.’s last World Cup win was in 1999 on penalties. WAIT!

5:10 – ALEX MORGAN ON A BREAKAWAY GETS TAKEN DOWN! RED CARD! BUT NO PENALTY, IT WAS OUTSIDE OF THE BOX. FREE KICK COMING UP

5:11 – HEATH ALMOST OFF OF THE DEFLECTION BUT JAPAN SWEATS IT OUT. STAYS TIED AND THAT WAS INDEED THE FINAL ACT. WE’RE GOING TO PK’S

5:13 – They’re tending to Solo who appears to be banged up. What a fricking game.

5:13 – Whichever team takes this, fully deserves it. Not often you can say that. Keep in mind Rapinoe was subbed out. she can’t take penalty kicks.

5:14 – Not gonna embellish, just gonna update with name and whether they scored or not for everyone following. Enjoy.

5:16 – U.S. Boxx has it BLOCKED

5:17 – Japan Miyama SCORES

5:17 – U.S. Lloyd hits it high and MISSES

5:18 – Ja-pan Nagasato has it BLOCKED BY SOLO and keeps them alive.

5:19 – U.S. Heath, Rapinoe’s sub, has it BLOCKED.

5:19 – Japan Sagaduchi SCORES after a tip by Solo which nearly saved it. Is that the dagger?

5:20 – U.S. Wambach SCORES to keep them alive once again.

5:21 – AND KUMAGAI DOES IT. JAPAN WINS AND TAKES IT IN PENALTIES. THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD TAKES THE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP FINAL AND ARE NOW CHAMPIONS. WHAT A FANTASTIC GAME.

5:23 – Certainly not the way to finish for the U.S. and this is going to hurt for a really really LONG time. The U.S. team is stunned, while jubilation on the other sideline. Two last chance goals, one in regular time and one in extra time, proved to be the difference for Japan, as well as all the near misses for the U.S. team early on. A possible Solo injury perhaps factored, as well as the questionable decision to take out Megan Rapinoe. Lots of questions loom for the U.S. team. But the future is Alex Morgan.

5:28 – Maybe the United States works better from behind. Sure looks that way and is what they seem more comfortable with.

5:30 – That marks the end to the FIFA Women’s World Cup, a fantastic game and a fantastic tournament. That does it for me over here, congratulations to Japan for a well-deserved victory. We’ll see how long this stays in the conscience of Americans (my guess, not long) and if people seem to start caring about soccer (my guess, they won’t). As for me, I’m proud to say this has marked the most successful day here on the Strong Move. I guess women’s sports is where it’s at? All that being said with the lockout coming to an end, ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? Keep your eyes open for some updates during the week and be sure to check out all of our past posts. Til next time fools.

 

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2 Responses to “Live Blog Of The FIFA Women’s World Cup Final: USA-Japan”

  1. Mike Reszka July 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

  2. arrrrrmando July 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    (y)

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