Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Japan Wins FIFA Women's World Cup 2011

I've been looking for this news in our local newspapers for over a week. For all of football or soccer's popularity worldwide, with FIFA saying 29 million women and girls are already playing football, it amazed and disappointed me that it didn't merit attention in local news. And I thought everybody is going gaga over the Azkals. Finally, today, in my regular major newspaper, it merited space. And rightly so; for all the drama and historical significance that happened in Germany, the host nation.

Its significance: Japan, drawing strength from the misery of the tsunami disaster back home, won its first ever Women's World Cup championship in its first ever finals appearance. They also became the first ever Asian nation to win the championship after beating the favored USA team in the finals, 3-1 on penalty shoot-out after coming from behind twice in a 2-2 stand-off after regulation and extra time.They haven't beaten an American team in 25 meetings before that. On its road to the finals, they made waves by shocking the heavily favored home team, Germany, 1-0 in the quarterfinals. Then they beat Sweden, 3-1 in the semis to arrange the historic finals match against two time champion US team.

Back in Japan, the Japanese people celebrated with utmost jubilance and joy, tv footages shown and special newspapers edition printed and given to people. For a while, it gave them inspiration and happiness, with the tsunami disaster occupying their minds for quite a while now. That was the pressure these Japanese ladies carried with them when they flew to Germany to participate in this 16-nation women's tournament. Before their game against Germany, the players were reportedly shown "images of the destruction to remind them of their higher purpose." Two of the players are actually working with the operator of the failed nuclear plants, TEPCO. And after every game, the players ran around the oval with  a banner that read, "To Our Friends Around The World- Thank You For Your Support." Such great gesture.

Last week, after our German visitor told me that Japan upset Germany, I've been glued to ESPN and Star Sports hoping to watch their telecast. Then, after hearing from CNN the results of the semis, I kept on switching to ESPN and Star Sports again and searched in the Internet for their final schedule. All I watched was another big event, the British Golf Open, which also made history, having its oldest champion for many years in the person of 42 year old Irishman, Darren Clarke. But this is another story.

Related story: Japan Shocks The World, Wins World Cup


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