United States vs. Japan
7:00 PM Eastern
BC Place Vancouver, BC
The Headliner: Same Teams, Different Game
It is ironic that after a tournament that displayed the deepest pool of talented women's soccer teams ever, those who reach the final are the same. Four years ago Japan defeated the United States in penalties to claim a shocking World Cup trophy that nobody gave them a chance of winning.
Three years ago at London 2012 these two teams met again, and this time it was the United States that won the Gold Medal off of a pair of goals from Carli Lloyd. This year it was that very same Lloyd that scored the winning goal against the heavily favoured Germans to make sure this matchup took place once again.
Just like four years ago the Japanese come into the game as underdogs, with the victory over Germany making the Americans heavy favourites to claim their first Women's World Cup since 1999 on home soil. This one may not be in America, but one can be sure with Vancouver's proximity to the US border this will feel like a home game.
This game is also big in terms of the shifting of power in women's soccer. Should the United States win they will have the most ever World Cup wins with three to add to their four Olympics Gold medals. They are currently tied with Germany at two apiece.
If Japan wins it will be their second straight title, pushing them into the upper echelon of the women's game. So it is much more than a World Cup title for these two countries. It may also be the last time for a while either of them get to a final.
The Matchup: American Muscle vs. Japanese Finesse
It has long been talked about that the United States play an outdated brand of soccer that will soon see them fall behind the rest of the world in the next couple of years. It sure hasn't yet. While they have struggled at times the Americans have been the most dominant team in a tournament that hasn't really been dominated just yet.
The Japanese have really never done more than the minimum to get themselves to this final, needing an own goal from the English to do so. They will rely on their technical ability, which is unmatched by any team, to compete with the speed and intensity of the American team.
The Americans are the heavy favourites just based on how dynamic they are as a team. They had their best performance of the tournament last match against Germany, and will be looking to carry that form into the final.
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