FRANKFURT, (Reuters) – Japan won the women’s World Cup for the first time after beating the United States 3-1 on penalties following a 2-2 draw yesterday.
The U.S. lost all their confidence in the shootout having dominated for long spells during the final and having twice taken the lead.
The match ended at 2-2 after extra time having been 1-1 after the 90 minutes.
Japan, reduced to 10 when Azusa Iwashimizu was dismissed in the 120th minute, levelled late on through Homare Sawa after Abby Wambach’s header looked to have given the U.S. victory.
In normal time, Aya Miyama of Japan equalised in the 81st minute when she tapped in a loose ball in front of the U.S. goal after very poor defending.
Alex Morgan had stylishly scored for the U.S. in the 69th minute. The American, who came off the bench at halftime, outsprinted Japan defender Kumagai onto a long ball from Megan Rapinoe and expertly fired her shot into the corner.