Sunday, July 17, 2011

Live By the 120th Minute Tying Goal and Penalty Kicks...

The US women's soccer team victory over Brazil in the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup last weekend was one of the most exciting games I've seen in any venue. Abby Wambach's 122nd-minute goal, tying the score at 2-2 and putting the outcome into a penalty kick shootout (which the US, with that kind of momentum, finished successfully), was a thing of beauty, equalled by Megan Rapinoe's crossing pass from some thirty yards away right onto Wambach's forehead.

In today's final, Wambach had a similar goal (crossing pass, just by a diving defender, straight off her forehead, though the cross was from shorter range) that put the US up in overtime 2-1 with a dozen minutes or so to go. Problem was, Japan's team had seen this show and wanted to play their part. Today, they got the goal with a couple minutes to go, took the momentum into the PK shootout, and we were the ones left devastated.

I congratulate the Japanese women's team on an impressive, inspirational effort through the whole tournament (they knocked out tourney favorite, host team, and two-time defending champion Germany the same weekend the US pulled off its win over competitive rival Brazil). They came back--twice--courageously against the US women, and, given their country's tragedy this year, are more than deserving of our emotional favor. I also congratulate the US women's team, for which nothing was easy (they barely made it into the WC field, after losing a key qualification match vs. Mexico). They accomplished a great deal and should be proud of it.

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