It’s second in the world against fourth as USA and Japan meet in Vancouver in the early hours of Monday morning British time to determine who will be crowned the 2015 Women’s world champions.
These two sides have a history of meeting on the big occasion, with Japan triumphing four years ago on penalties after a 2-2 draw to win their first ever World Cup, whilst the Americans triumphed 2-1 at the 2012 Olympics in the gold medal match.
Japan are looking to join USA and Germany on two World Cup successes, but know they reached the final in the most dramatic fashion, as Laura Bassett’s bizarre own goal in injury-time sent Japan through with a 2-1 win against a valiant England side.
The Americans didn’t have it easy against Germany in their semi-final either, but showed their experience as they went on to win 2-0 thanks to goals from Carli Lloyd and Kelley O’Hara, reaching their fourth World Cup final and sending the top-ranked team into the third place play-off against England.
Both sides have outstanding defensive records throughout the tournament, with USA having conceded just once – in their opening game against Australia – whilst the Japanese have let in just the three goals themselves and have won all of their games by a single goal margin.
Expect the game to be tight and organised, with both teams having an abundance of experience at their disposal to call upon in the biggest game in Women’s football.
Japan have their two stalwarts in midfield who both netted in the 2011 final – Homare Sawa and captain Aya Miyama – who possess 350 caps combined and more than 100 goals. Shinobu Ohno is no rookie upfront either with 128 caps to her name, and she is likely to be the main goalscoring threat for the Japanese.
The Americans are not shy of experience though and forward Abby Wambach is set to earn her 249th cap. There is even a player in the squad who was a part of the last American squad to win the World Cup in 1999 – Christie Rampone – and should she come on at the age of 40, will win an astounding 308th cap.
However, Alex Morgan – who was instrumental in the semi-final – will be the main goal threat for the Japanese to watch out for. Carli Lloyd, who reached 200 caps against China in the quarter-final, has also netted in each of the last three games.
Shoot Says: USA 1-0 Japan