July 18, 2011 3 Comments
The whistle has blown, the fat lady has sung and the World Cup has been handed out. The Japanese Women’s Soccer team is the 2011 World Cup Champions. Winning in a three to one shoot out Japan in a game that was dominated by the United States came out victorious.
First Half Struggles: To Many Missed Shots
To open up the first half the United States charged the Japan goal to what would appear to look like a for sure goal for Lauren Cheny, but instead ended up being a very costly miss. That was the story for the United States Women as they took 14 shots in the first half, missing all of them. Not only were they just all misses but they were misses that at least half of them should’ve been goals.
Despite playing great defense by only allowing six shots (Only two of them looking like they had a chance) not scoring in the first half would really hurt the U.S in this game. Coming in with all of the momentum and with all of the advantages and to end up not scoring at least once off of 14 shots that should’ve been made, well that certainly changed the game for the United States and gave Japan a great boost of confidence.
Momentum Switch: To Many Missed Shots Become Confidence Booster for Japan
Heading into halftime with the score tied 0-0 the Japanese even though allowing 14 shots that were all on point in the first half now had all of the momentum coming into the second half. Reason being, was despite their awful offense and defense they were still tied 0-0 and after the U.S. poor play they could now spread the field allowing their offense to open up and then score.
In the first ten minuets of the second half the United States would have another four great looks capitalizing on none of them, it was the same story. The same story, that cost the U.S. in the first half that was now going to cost them in the second half.
Japan’s confidence was starting to grow as they had another great look on the 61st minute just off target. The United States again would miss another two great opportunities, putting the game in the control of Japan. Then just as it looked like Japan was about to score a goal as the ball was in Japanese territory Megan Rapione launched a pass to Alex Morgan putting her right in front of the Japan goal. Morgan would shoot and SCORE!!! 1-0 United States.
An Early Lesson in Life: Don’t Kick the Ball in Front of Your Own Goal…Ever
Though, the United States would make a mistake again, though this time it would be very costly. With the ball in their own territory Rachel Buehler would attempt to clear the ball by passing it to Ali Krieger however Aya Miyama of Japan would steal the ball and score. What went wrong was the United States put the ball in front of their own goal, a thing taught and preached in the early ages of soccer. It was a mistake that should’ve been prevented by Buehler just kicking the ball out of bounce putting the ball away from the goal giving the Japanese a harder chance to score.
Abby Wambach would later on score in the 104th minute during the extra minuets. Homare Sawa would later on score in the 117th minute tying the game at 2-2. Time would expire sending the game into a shootout.
The Shootout: A Situation That Should’ve Been Prevented
Heading into the shootout for the Japanese was a god’s blessing but for the United States Women it was…well shocking. To see all of the opportunities and the great shots that the United States had and to see them tied let alone in a shootout with the World Cup on the line it was just very shocking.
Poor Decision Making: Little Mistakes Became Big Errors
The United States would shoot first. Shannon Boxx would miss on a poorly taken goal which looking at the replay Japan goalie Ayumi Kaihori was already jumping to the right and all Boxx had to do was shoot the ball left instead Boxx would kick the ball right into the hands of Kaihori. Japan would score.
Carli Lloyd would kick next launching the ball high over the goal. A goal needed by the United States would end up in the stands rather in the goal. Hope Solo would come back with a stop saving the goal.
The United States wouldn’t score again putting the pressure in the hands of Solo. Solo would read the ball right however Solo would drop it letting the ball roll right in for a goal.
Despite Abby Wambach coming back with a goal to give the United States some hope, Japan would come back as well with a goal of their own. Japan would go onto win the shootout 3-1 crowning themselves the 2011 World Cup Champions.