United States vs. Japan
The final is set in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, as Japan looking to win their first trophy takes on two-time champions USA at Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, Germany.
Japan comes into this match on a massive high, not only taking out the hosts and two-time defending champions Germany in the Quarterfinals but following it up with a dominating 3-1 win over Sweden. Before the tournament started most just glossed over Japan as a team that would get out of their group but probably go no further, this team flew under the radar until they beat Germany and even then weren’t expected to beat Sweden so convincingly. Prior to this tournament the farthest this team ever went was the Quarterfinal stages back in 1995, in fact it was the USA they meet in the Quarterfinal match, which ultimately ended in a 4-0 defeat. The other meeting they had in the World Cup was in 1991 where they lost 3-0, however this is a completely different side with a lot more talent and a lot less fear. Coach Norio Sasaki will obviously look to captain Homare Sawa for leadership and Aya Miyama to be the playmaker but will need goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori to be a central figure in this match, her ability to be a commanding presence and have proper communication with her defense will be vital.
As for USA, they have proven to possess a squad full of players that are of top quality in the women’s game and when called upon can do the job required. Having to go through Brazil in the Quarterfinals in the manner they did and then playing a French side that is one of the best in the tournament was a tough ask, however qualifying for the tournament was an ordeal in its self as they had to win a playoff against Italy. With all of that behind them it comes down to one match and whether they are good enough on the day, the favorable history over Japan doesn’t mean much and their two previous tittles mean even less at this point. Coach Pia Sundhage will look to the likes of Megan Rapinoe, Heather O’Reilly and Lauren Cheney, you know what to expect from Hope Solo and Abby Whambach but it’s these players that hold the key to success. The defense will also have to be 100% focused; as Japan have proven they can tear apart any back line with one perfect through ball and take advantage of poorly set offside traps.
This will be a fun match, personally I would love if Japan won their first title, capping off what was a great tournament for them and a defining moment beating hosts and two-time defending champions Germany on their home soil. However I’m going with the over in this one, as I think there will be goals in this game.