FURTHER REVIEW: World Cup final lives up to the hype
The Women’s World Cup final did not disappoint.
Sunday’s nailbiter went down to a 3-1 decision on penalty kicks after the United States allowed Japan to rally twice in a 2-2 tie.
Of course, it would have been nice for the Americans to take the win (something the United States last accomplished in 1999).
I’m just as proud of the red, white and blue as anyone, but in Japan’s case, the trophy represented more than just a mere soccer victory.
In light of the devastating tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan on March 11, the team’s World Cup success takes on greater meaning for the country’s people.
Perhaps the soccer triumph will give Japan hope as the nation recovers from the terrible disaster.
“It just seemed like their country needed them to win more than ours,” American player Abby Wambach was quoted.
Following each of their games, Japanese players carried a banner that read, “To our Friends Around the World, Thank You for Your Support.”
It was obvious that the players carried their country’s pain on their shoulders.
Japan’s performance was reminiscent of Super Bowl XLIV in the 2009-10 season when the New Orleans Saints stunned the Indianapolis Colts.
At the time, New Orleans and the surrounding area was in the midst of recovering from a disaster of its own, Hurricane Katrina.
After the 2005 hurricane, the Saints were nomads, traveling to play home games. Their usual home, the Louisiana Superdome, had been damaged.
It wouldn’t reopen until Sept. 25, 2006, which proved to be an emotional Monday Night Football event. It featured performances by U2 and Green Day, along with a resounding 23-3 win for the home team over the rival Atlanta Falcons. All of the drama unfolded in front of ESPN’s largest audience at the time.
Enough about “American football,” though. It’s time for “the other football” (better known as soccer to many American sports fans) to have its moment in the sun.
Sure, you can’t fault a red-blooded American male for the urge to ask out Hope Solo through a YouTube video now.
How long will these crushes last? Now that the games have been played, many sports fans will return to their usual loves – football, baseball, basketball and the like.
It’s really a shame, though. The latest frenzy over the World Cup proves that Americans are capable of loving the game of soccer. The key seems to be in having patriotic pride attached.
It may be a long way to go before soccer becomes a major sport in the United States, but it is gaining ground with every thrilling event.
All in all, the latest World Cup advanced the sport.