If i were to summarize the football game that i just saw, 2 late goals in the 2nd half one by each team, two late goals yet again in the extra time, again one by each team and then a penalty shoot out to decide the winner. Final Score Line
But the summary won’t tell the true story and the spirit of the game. This by far was the best world cup final game ever.
The first 45 minutes of the first half showed great skill and persistence by the two teams, the US and JAPAN. To begin with, the US was a better time in terms of the ball possession and the number of shots they attempted. Japan, on the other hand, was taking time to get in the game. Trying to organize and get settled down. Could be the nerves of playing in such a big game. But once they found the rhythm, they started playing their usual game of throwing in surprises via counter attacks. They were relentless at it. Every single opportunity they got they would go right through the US defense. With shots hitting the poles, missed chances, corner kicks, but no goal yet by either team, the first half ended.
The second 45 minutes began in the same style, with US dominating. The substitute player then broke free from two of the defenders and converted a long pass from the defender into a perfect goal scoring opportunity. US was by 1 goal in the 67th minute or so. Japan on the other hand never looked shaken. They would make great runs through the defense but returned without a goal. The pressure was mounting on the US defense who in the 80th minute gave in and the Japanese striker with a deft touch converted a miscued shot into a goal. Both teams tie 1-1.
Since FIFA changed the rules, there was no sudden death. Both teams having already played an exciting 90 minutes of the game, had to go for an extra 30 minutes, with 2 15 minute halves.
Although both the teams were a bit exhausted, the style and the level of the game never took a beating. Both were playing good soccer, with good possessions and good looks. US was the first one to score in the first half of the extra time with their most experienced player. I for one thought, this would end Japan’s chances. Japanese players, however, never gave up. They scored in the 117th minute of the game through their most experienced player. It was the most exciting and the most exhilarating game of football finals. What is even more amazing is that this was “Womens World Cup Final”, mind you none of the “Mens” world cup final in the recent history had produced such a game.
The Messi’s, the Ronaldo’s, the Zidane’s, the Rooney’s, nor the Ronaldinho’s, none of them could ever produce such a world cup game, forget about the finals, at least least not the ones i saw in the previous 4 – 5 world cups. For all the money, the sponsorship’s that goes into the men’s football, if it can’t produce such a gem of a game at the highest level, then seriously, let’s pause and think. Today’s game is a testimony to the women’s talent, their skill and their hard-work. The women have spoken, actually, they have shown, that the women’s football deserves equal respect, if not more.
I wish the Indian Sports Ministry saw this game and learn a thing or two about Women’s sport and games. They have been so blind sighted to this, so much so that the very popular “Chak De”, which originally was a movie on Women’s hockey, went on become a slogan for men’s cricket, as if they were short of this. With little money, little sponsorship’s and very little infrastructure support, the women’s sports and games are all taking a big beating. I just hope at least one of them saw today’s game. They would know what I’m saying.