Who will win the Women's World Cup? [Poll]
Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the Women's World Cup final between the U.S. and Japan on Sunday. Check back throughout the day for more responses and weigh in by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
Grahame L. Jones, Los Angeles Times
This is the best Japanese women’s team ever assembled. This is not the best U.S. women’s team ever assembled. Japan already has answered the question of whether it can defeat bigger, stronger, physically more powerful players. The Germans and Swedes can attest to that. The Japanese team is not the Barcelona of the East, but it is playing stylish, possession-oriented soccer that is entertaining to watch. Japan’s coach, Norio Sasaki, has proven to be a shrewd tactician and will have done his homework on the American players.
That said, the U.S. goes into the final knowing that it twice shut out Japan as recently as May. It also goes in with the knowledge that instead of playing Germany or Brazil in the final, as expected, it faces a (large “perhaps” here) less-difficult opponent. Confidence will be high. Victory and a third world championship for the U.S., 2-0.
There certainly are plenty of reasons to pick the United States to win, starting with the never-say-die spirit it has shown in the knockout stage.
Add in the fact that the U.S. is 22-0-3 all-time against Japan, including three wins in 2011, and it would seem almost crazy to pick Japan to win this.
But that's what I'll do, as the upstart team from Asia that has never won a major soccer honor will change that in style and defeat the United States, 2-1.
The American team can count itself lucky to be here, needing late heroics to defeat a tired Brazil side and making the most of its chances against a French team that controlled the match in every other aspect.
That won't work against Japan, which has a better keeper than France, will control possession just as well, and in Homare Sawa, possesses a player adept at finding the back of the net.
Bill Kline, Allentown Morning Call
One could argue that Japan is the best team in the tournament and that a Japanese victory would be for the greater global good.
After all, Japan is skillful, athletic and playing smart soccer.
After all, Japan in its last two games whipped two-time defending champion Germany and Sweden -– the team that beat the United States.
After all, Japan is playing for a nation that desperately needs a pick-me-up following the March earthquake/tsunami that killed thousands and undermined its economy -- causing collateral financial damage across the globe.
After all, a Japanese victory would give hope to women’s soccer in nations around the world who routinely absorb beatdowns from the game’s power troika of Brazil, Germany and the U.S.
Yes, we could say all of that.
But we won’t, and we’ll instead play the role of the ultra-patriotic and cocksure American and pick the U.S. by a (Wambach) head, 2-1.
Photo: U.S. fans celebrate after their team beat France in the Women's World Cup semifinals on Wednesday. Credit: Martin Meissner / Associated Press