Monday, July 18, 2011

なでしこジャパン 日本 Japan's Cinderella Win over the US in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup

In what could be described in one of Japan’s finest moments, the team that believed stunned the world as Nadeshiko Japan triumphed over the USWNT. In a nail biting dramatic finish reminiscent of the US defeat over Brazil, Japan came from behind and equalized the game to a 2-2 tie in overtime forcing a penalty shootout. Three missed penalty kicks on the underrated Ayumi Kahori by the US proved costly while Saki Kumagi hit her mark past an injured Hope Solo at the back of the net and sailed into history. Never has an Asian team won a World Cup until now and for Japan this well deserved victory could not have been better scripted by Hollywood. March 2011 seems like only yesterday when the world watched the horrifying images of the Tsunami devastating the Sendai region sweeping many homes and countless lives out to sea among them, relatives of the players of Nadeshiko Japan. The significance of what emotional and psychological impact on the members of Nadeshiko Japan can not be understated.

How does one recover from such tragedy to achieve such a feat to defeat the odds on favorite USWNT who had previously defeated them? It can be summed up by the Japanese will to fight on, to believe in oneself, and ultimately to prevail without ego. This is a team that last march found itself without a pitch to practice on reducing their training sessions to simply running. Such adversity is difficult to imagine particularly with the lack of support back home. Coach Norio Sasaki and the 32 year old Captain Homare Sawa soldiered on leading these humble beautiful flowers of Japan to fight for their devastated nation. They fought with great heart in their stunning victory over the USA bringing joy to a people who have experienced such indescribable tragedy. This is what Americans call a Cinderella Story for Japan. Americans love an underdog but at the same time we hate to lose. The Japanese played a tough game with grace and even with a red card there was no arguing or cheap theatrics. And though it is disappointing that our US Women’s National Team did not win the final, it is bittersweet to know that we lost to dear friends and the most gracious winners who needed this more. おめでとう なでしこジャパン日本. おめでとうございます!


  1. What an amazing match that was. I thought the US was going to blow them out with how they were dominating the 1st half.

  2. What a beautiful well written story Louis, I too am very proud of the ladies of Nadeshiko Japan :)

  3. Ultimately the real winner was Women's Soccer particularly in Japan. Both teams played with class and dignity not seen in the men's game. I am very proud of both teams and very happy for Japan.