By Josh Kramer
Most of the American sporting world is very well aware of one of the greatest sports triumphs in our country’s history that occurred in 1980 at Lake Placid. And if they were not aware, after the major motion picture “Miracle” came out in 2004, they became in the known. Of course the “Miracle on Ice” revolves around a young US hockey team that shocked the supposedly unbeatable Soviet Union hockey team in the semi-finals of the 1980 winter olympics.
Now I obviously am pulling for Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, and the US ladies to bring home the World Cup title tomorrow. But the American women are heavily favored over a little known Japanese squad that has an entire country on edge. What if the Japanese were to shock the Americans? Would Japan start referring to July 17th, 2011 as the “Miracle on Grass?”
It has been a trying past four months for the country of Japan. This past March, a horrific earthquake and tsunami decimated a good portion of Japan. Consequently, 15,000 people were killed, and an astonishing 7,000 people went missing. This is an event that will not be soon forgotten. Though Japan has handled the tough situation extremely well. Now the Japanese women are no pushover though. They were ranked 4th in the world heading into this year’s World Cup, though they had never made a finals (or a semi-finals for that matter). The Japanese women’s best showing prior to 2011 was a quarterfinal appearance in 1995. Sadly, that run ended with a thumping from none other than the mighty US women 4 to 0.
The United States women have not looked dominant in this tournament. But they have handled business when they have needed to. And sure they have had some drama filled thrillers. Heading into this final though, they are heavily favored. Overall, the US is 22-0-3 versus Japan in international competition. In addition, the United States women defeated the Japanese in two friendly matches this past May.
Wambach and Co. are looking to help the US capture a record 3rd World Cup Championship tomorrow. But do realize that if Japan were able to somehow pull off the unthinkable and win, it would be one of the greatest upsets in sports history and perhaps Japan’s greatest sporting achievement.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.