Nadeshiko Are the Best in the World: Japan Wins Women’s World Cup After Penalty Shootout With the United States

Women's World Cup Champion Japan
Homare Sawa lifts the Women’s World Cup championship trophy after Japan defeats the United States. Photo by Reuters.

Nadeshiko Are the Best in the World: Japan Wins Women’s World Cup After Penalty Shootout With the United States
Yomiuri Shimbun: なでしこ世界一…女子W杯、PK戦で米下す
7:05 AM July 18, 2011

The championship game of the sixth Women’s World Cup final began July 17, 8:45 PM in Frankfurt, Germany (July 18, 3:45 AM in Japan). The Japanese team (nickname Nadeshiko Japan) defeated the United States, the top-ranked team in the world seeking its third championship and first in three tournaments, 3-1 on penalty kicks to realize its dream of winning the first World Cup in the country’s history.

The U.S. drew first blood when Alex Morgan scored in the 69th minute, but Aya Miyama equalized in the 81st minute, forcing the game into overtime.

In the 104th, Abby Wambach scored what looked to be the winning goal, but in the 117th, Homare Sawa scored with a flying right kick, tying the score 2-2 and sending the game to a penalty shootout.

This is Japan’s first victory in an international football tournament sponsored by FIFA, the men’s team included. Japan was ranked #4 in the world and had participated in all six tournaments, but until now its best finish was a quarterfinals appearance. At this tournament, they defeated 2-time defending champion and host country Germany in the quarterfinal and blitzed Sweden in the semifinal. But they had lost all 21 matches they’d played against the United States until now.

Homare Sawa was named the World Cup’s Most Valuable Player. Her five goals were the most in the tournament.

Homare Sawa Celebrates WWC Final Goal
Homare Sawa celebrates her equalizing goal late in extra time. Photo by Reuters.

MVP Sawa: I Still Can’t Handle Being #1 in the World
Yomiuri Shimbun: MVPの沢「世界一、まだ受け止められない」
7:18 AM July 18, 2011

Homare Sawa, the captain of new champion Japan, was named Most Valuable Player of the Women’s World Cup.

She scored five goals, the most in the tournament. After the match, she said, “We got here because we never quit. I kept running all the way to the end and spent all my energy.  I’ve been fighting to become the best in the world all along. I still can’t handle it coming true, but I’m truly happy,” she said, her face full of emotion.

On winning the crown in her fifth World Cup: “We finally got the result we’ve always wanted. It’s because of the support we received from everyone in Japan,” she said with a smile.

Original/原稿:
なでしこ世界一…女子W杯、PK戦で米下す

サッカー女子W杯決勝で米国を下し、優勝トロフィーを掲げる沢=ロイター

 サッカーの第6回女子ワールドカップ(W杯)ドイツ大会は17日午後8時45分(日本時間18日午前3時45分)から、フランクフルトで決勝が行われ、初の決勝進出を果たした日本代表(なでしこジャパン)が、3大会ぶり3度目の優勝を目指した世界ランキング1位の米国をPK戦(3―1)で破り、悲願の初優勝を果たした。

 日本は69分に後半投入のモーガンに先制されたが、81分に宮間がゴールを決めて同点に追いつき、延長戦に突入した。

 104分、ワンバックのゴールで勝ち越されたが、延長戦後半の117分、沢が飛び込んで右足で決め、再び試合を振り出しに戻し、2―2のままPK戦での決着となった。

 日本が国際サッカー連盟(FIFA)主催大会で優勝するのは、男女を通じて初めて。世界ランキング4位で6大会連続出場の日本は、これまでベスト8が最高成績だったが、今大会は、準々決勝で3連覇を狙ったドイツを破ると、準決勝でスウェーデンに快勝。決勝でも、過去3分け21敗と1度も勝ったことのなかった米国を初めて破った。

 沢は今大会の最高殊勲選手(MVP)に選ばれるとともに、通算5得点で得点ランキング1位に輝いた。
(2011年7月18日07時05分 読売新聞)

MVPの沢「世界一、まだ受け止められない」

サッカー女子W杯決勝の延長後半、同点ゴールを決め喜ぶ沢(中央)=ロイター

 サッカー女子W杯ドイツ大会で優勝したなでしこジャパンを率いた主将の沢が、大会最優秀選手(MVP)に選ばれた。

 今大会は、通算5得点で得点ランキングトップにも輝いた。試合後は「みんながあきらめず戦った結果、こうなった。自分も最後まで走り続けたし、全力を出し切りました。ずっと世界一を目標に戦ってきた。まだ現実を受け止められないが、本当にうれしい」と感無量の表情を見せた。

 W杯5度目の出場でつかんだ栄冠に「ようやく結果を残せた。日本の皆さんの応援が励みになりました」と笑顔で話した。
(2011年7月18日07時17分 読売新聞)

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