The final: USA – Japan 5:2 (4:1)

Official match website:

In-depth tactical analysis in german:

Match preview:

Football at its best

Some fans sometimes tend to use some kind of excuses or feel the need to explain why they like to watch womens football. What about the answer: Maybe because it is simply a beautiful game? And I can not find too much of a neither why the mens final a year ago should have been more entertaining to watch nor why these kinds of comparisons should be rejected. (They will be made by the buyers of the tickets anyway)
There have been loads of facets of a beautiful game been at display here that you might call it an overload. This match had so plenty of world class players, world class actions, world class drama, and world class heroes. And it was entertaining until the final stages because you have to hugely credit Japan for not resigning but putting on a formidable performance despite being almost hopelessly back and beaten after 16 minutes.
It was not as often that

After the 0:4 you felt reminiscent of the Brazil 1:7 last summer and got afraid that the rest of the game would be similarily dripping towards an anti-climax end. But that did not happen. Surely partly because of the 4:0 in the bag already the USA did exactly what they should have urgently avoided to do as mentioned in the above preview. They allowed Japan easy access into their own half and to dictate play from there. And so Japan started to get their joy back that they had lost after the early goals.

Throughout the championships ko-stage only one game was turned around after a 0:1 deficit and goals seemed to come so rarely that people started to analyse this issue to find explanations for this and some struggling previous star player forwards.
Who would have expected that there will be 7 goals at display in the final? But that these things can happen is why this game is so beautiful. Sometimes there are just those 15 minutes where anything starts to go in one direction. Not often however these minutes are so relentlessly used as the USA did in this game.

It was twice Lloyd who was lucky enough to profit from a very untypical and very sloppy defending from the Japanese where especially the marking of Iwashimizu always came with a delay that proofed deadly. And the few minutes everything is falling your way where only half over there. Another few minutes later it was a bad cross that turned deadly when Iwashimizu again was not up to the task to clear the box but produced a looping ball which could have not been more precisely falling into the run of Holiday who slammed the ball volley into the net. And when everything is working you can even score goals from 50 meters looping the ball over the goalie who – of course – stumbled on her way back just enough to give the ball only a slight touch so that it found the way into the goal by just touching the post from the wrong side.

From that moment on of course everything that happened was widely influenced by the big scoreline. You cannot accuse the USA of giving the midfield to the Japanese without much resistance and that the Japanese had more possession.

And they showed their classy game with lots of short passes, quick feet and superb technical abilities on the ball especially in offense where they were able to check the US defense who had been seen as the main reason throughout the tournament as the main backbone for the US success. They were so much tested that yet another goal for Japan was not far away and certainly more than in the previous 6 matches of these world championships combined. No comparison to the lame evening Solo had against Germany.

But of course the USA at this stage of the game simply could afford that and had a quick answer again after the 2:4 where you even started to doubt what would happen after the next Japanese goal. But it still remained the evening of the USA as they again saw the Japanese defense unluckily backpaddling all on one line and thus not being able to prevent Heath from the tap from short distance after Morgans well addressed pass.

That sealed the deal on a game that surely will be well remembered for a long time to come and lived more than up to its expectations. Again you have to credit Japan for not giving up but keep trying. But the small glimmers of hope got more and more out of sight the more time run by.

And so it was all USA after the final whistle of these world championships who converted their given opportunities very clinically and took the eagerly desired revenge for the defeat 4 years ago. And a lot of people would agree that it is a pity that you have to wait 4 years for the next edition of this competition.

Player of the match: Lloyd

The master converter who exceled to the player of the tournament in the last 3 games after being quite quiet during the group stages.
Having not won the golden boat the FIFA might think to consider weighing group games goals slightly lesser. Same issue as with the men

Player Ratings USA (0-10)

Solo 7.5
Reliable as always.Couldnt do much about the goals

Krieger 7
Looked good. On the field, that is. Not much to do than keep her side clean

Sauerbrunn 8
Absolutely reliable, calm and collected. The player of the tournament if you include the group stage

Johnston 6
The newcomer had to have her setback sooner or later. A bad game but nevertheless excellent tournament

Klingenberg 7
Same as Krieger

Brian 7.5
Again with outstanding creative vision to know where the ball should go.

Holiday 7.5
Beautiful goal. So same rating as Morgan

Heath 7.5
Worked her side better than Rapinoe this time

Lloyd 9
Despite she hardly appeared after her goals. But that was appearance enough already

Rapinoe 7
Again not quite the factor for the game we used to see

Morgan 7.5
Running and working the defense constantly. Would have deserved a goal


Player Ratings Japan (0-10)

Kaihori 6.5
Couldnt do much more but a synonym for the drama stumbling back at the 0:3

Aryoshi 7.5
Solid team player as always.

Kumagai 8
Calm and solid – and without a big fault

Iwashimizu 5.5
Big drama here for the often so reliable center back

Samechima 7
Not her day. Often second best to Scott.

Kawasumi 7.5
Has she been injured?

Sawaguchi 7
Solid – and did well in defense

Utsugi 7
Solid also as a left back

Miyama 7.5
More lively than before. Tried to urge her team on.

Ohno 6
High workrate as always. But not much effect. Pity Kawasumi couldnt play on instead

Iwabuchi 7.5
Again very lively and a big add on when she came in

Ogimi 7.5
Had a tough task between the center backs. Worked hard and got a good goal



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