Monday, 18th July 2011
Japan victorious in women's world cup
Japan's football team has won the FIFA Women's World Cup, following a dramatic penalty shootout versus USA.
The game had been a hard-fought affair, going into extra time at 1-1 after Ava Miyama equalised for Japan seven minutes from time.
It appeared that USA had wrapped things up when Abby Wambach put them back ahead on 104 minutes, but Homare Sawa kept Japan in it just three minutes from the end of extra-time.
Goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori was then the hero for Japan, saving two spot-kicks in the shootout, before defender Saki Kumagai stepped up to give Japan a 3-1 win on penalties.
There was further celebration for Japan after the final whistle, with star playmaker Sawa handed the Adidas Golden Ball award as player of the tournament. She also lifted the Golden Boot as the tournament's top scorer, with five goals and one assist,
Tina Theune, a member of the Fifa Technical Study Group, told FIFA.com: "She's a ball-winner, the orchestrator of her side's build-up play and a goal-getter all in one. She's definitely one of the most complete players."
Sunday's final will go down in history as Japan's first major tournament victory. It also set a new record on Twitter for the most number of messages sent, with levels reaching 7,196 messages per second at their busiest.
Written by Mark Smith