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Japan's Soccer Miracle: Man Bites Dog


There’s no way Japan should have won the soccer World Cup in Women’s soccer in their match today against the USA in Germany. But they did. It was incredible. The American women were stronger, significantly taller (by 4″ on average) and faster. The USA goalie was 3 inches taller than her Japanese counterpart: a major advantage in protecting the goal. USA had nearly 4 times as many shots on goal as the Japanese team. Yet, the soccer gods were smiling on Japan as Japan pulled it off in the final penalty kick shootout.

Talk about drama. This game was a nail biter down to the wire. Wow! USA was ahead until the final moments at 1-0, when Japan caught up and tied the game. It went into overtime, again the USA was ahead early and again Japan shot the “equalizer” shot in the final moments of overtime. Then it went to a penalty kick shootout. USA missed its first three attempts. That’s almost a guaranteed fatality. And it was. Congrats to Japan!

The Japanese women’s team had faced off the USA on 11 previous occassions. They lost 10 matches, tied only one. They needed this victory after all that’s happened to their devastated country: tsunami, earthquakes, and a nuclear meltdown. This was the classic Disney movie of the comeback kids; the Japanese team’s coach died in the tsunami and their practice field was also decimated. There was a time when this ragtag, underfunded team didn’t even know if there would be a team to go to the World Cup. Hopefully, this win will herald the start of Japan’s economic recovery. Now Japan can add “World Soccer Champions” to their resume.


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