The teams are about to come out of the tunnel. Release the butterflies. The USA, which has never lost to Japan, is No.1 in the world. Japan is No. 4. If this were an SEC football game we would say you can throw out the records when these two teams play.
:24: Wambach gets an early shot but is denied. A good start for the USA which was a little flat-footed early against France.
1:37: Early on, the USA is pressing the action, a 180 from the start against France.
3:20: Homare Sawa briefly breaks open with the ball but the shot merely rolls to Hope Solo.
6:00: The USA is dictating the action early but other than Wambach’s early goal try there has been no real action in front of either goal.
8:00: Rapinoe to Cheney is ever-so close to a goal. The USA has had two great opportunities but game away empty both times.
8:58: Wambach lets one fly over the goal. The USA is peppering the Japanese goal and it shall be seen whether this is one of those games in which Japan weathers the storm or the USA keeps knocking until they open this game up.
10:00: The USA playing the first 10 minutes like France played against the USA by forcing all the action. That didn’t turn out well for France as they kept missing opportunities. The U.S. can only hope history doesn’t repeat itself within a week.
13:12: The USA now has a 5-1 shot edge.
15:00: The pace has slowed after the USA’s earlier barrage. The score remains 0-0 and Japan seems to have recovered its footing and the action has become divided at both ends of the field.
16:30: Carli Lloyd winds up and fires one over the goal. The USA is getting excellent chances but coming up dry on seven solid chances.
20:00: The game remains 0-0 despite the United States getting the better of it offensively. The U.S. knows from the France game how that can work against you as France dominated the first 20 minutes vs. them.
23:00: Japan has now had a flurry of action with a couple of shots but nothing near the goal. Remains 0-0.
24:03: USA corner kick by Cheney does not result in a shot.
28:00: Japan has to be loving what is going on. They have taken everything the USA has delivered (a 9-2 shot advantage) and remained tied. Or at least loving the result.
28:11: Wambach point blank shot hits the goal post and out. Another great opportunity missed.
31:oo: Good save by Solo on a point-blank shot by Japan. It would have been a disaster if Kozue Ando would have scored and the USA would have gone down 1-0 despite dominating play. All the French players must be shaking their heads as they have been there, done that in the semifinals.
34:00: A header by Cheney goes over the crossbar. Yet another wasted chance in this 0-0 game.
37:00: Japan’s corner kick ends up with Kahoma Kawasumi firing one over the goal. Japan not getting many chances compared to the USA but it is still 0-0.
39:00: The USA has a 12-5 shot advantage but the Japanese have begun to slow down their attack.
42:00: Shannon Boxx has a nice cross near the goal but again the USA comes up empty.
44:13: Japan has a great chance with a cross in front of the goal but pass is a little long. Still, the Japanese are picking up the pace.
HALFTIME I: Analysts Tony DiciccoBrandy Chastain say this is the best the USA has played but Japan has to be giddy to be 0-0 at halftime. The USA has wasted almost a half-dozen chances including hitting the top bar. If its possible, USA is outplaying Japan but lost the first half after their 12-5 shot advantage led to a halftime tie.
HALFTIME II: Alex Morgan will replace Lauren Cheney after Cheney’s injures her foot and is sitting with an ice bag. Foudy says Morgan means speed. So we’ll watch that.
46:00: Sundhage wants her USA team to push the ball even more then they did in the first half.
47:10: The USA is doing a good job keeping Japan out of rhythm but the first half push that the USA had also seems to be stemmed.
48:46: Morgan hits the post. This is starting to have a bad feeling to it for the USA and perhaps a day of destiny for Japan. We shall see
52:00: 0-0 despite a 13-5 shot advantage for the USA. Three shots that hit the bar included.
52:33: Rapinoe gives a great cross to Wambach who can’t quite get a full foot on it and sends a wild shot at the goal. Add that to the missed opportunities.
55:30: A corner kick by Japan does not result in a threat.
56:40: USA gets a corner kick. Rapinoe’s kick sails and USA can not do anything with it.
60:15: Yukari Kinga has a chance to make it 1-0 Japan but boots an open shot over the goal.
62:23: U.S. corner by Rapinoe doesn’t result in any action in front of the goal. USA has a 15-6 shot advantage and a 0-0 tie. This could start to weigh on them. Wambach’s shot, a 16th at the goal is tipped over the crossbar.
67:oo: No score and the pressure of the game has to be weighing much heavier on the USA as it has had many more failed opportunities.
68:00: Rapinoe again with a great cross to Morgan. USA 1-0! A great goal by Morgan and Rapinoe continues to amaze with her ability to lead her teammates on the pass.
71:50: USA now has to decide how to play the last 20 minutes. Whether you press your advantage or clog it up on defense.
74:00: Japan has a similar decision of whether to press on offense possibly leave themselves open to another USA shot on goal.
77:00: Thirteen minutes left for USA to take the title or Japan to tie it up. The USA has gone to trying to control the ball instead of pressing for more shots.
80:00: With 10 minutes to go Japan is going to have to start gambling and putting the emphasis on the offensive end instead of trying to control the ball.
80:17: Japan scores on rebound and poor clearing out of the box. 1-1 as Aya Miyama takes advantage.
81:13: Japan almost scores again. The USA has had a few minutes of total chaos as it has allowed Japan to control them. The USA seems to have gotten out of rhythm when they went into a control game.
84:15: Corner by the USA does not lead to a shot on goal.
85:40: Japan is now dominating the action after the USA held sway for almost 80 minutes.
88:00: Since scoring its goal, the USA has not come close to another opportunity. That is almost 20 minutes.
89:00: The shots are now 18-10 in USA favor but Japan has dominated the past 10 minutes on offense.
90:00: Two minutes of added time.
90:45: O’Reilly gets a good left foot but over the goal.
EXTRA TIME: The USA had to think the game was in hand. But now that Japan has tied it 1-1 the game action has titled toward Japan. The USA will need to change that in the first 15 minute extra period.
91:00: Corner kick from Rapinoe ends with Shannon Boxx try that is blocked and then a Wambach header.
93:00: The USA has regained some of its offensive swagger after going into prevent the last 15 minutes of regulation. But the missed opportunities in the first half giving up a late goal has to weight heavily.
95:00: Morgan gets a great pass from Wambach but can’t quite get a good foot on it. Another lost opportunity.
96:28: Miyama gets a yellow card.
99:30: Neither team has really had a great try in the first OT time but the USA has certainly had the better of it. Still, the same happened in the first half and the USA couldn’t do anything with that advantage.
101:50: A Rapinoe header is just short of goal.
103:07: Wambach header! 2-1 USA. Morgan does a great job keeping the ball alive for the goal.
END OF 1ST PERIOD OF EXTRA TIME: USA leads 2-1 and is 15 minutes away from victory
106:10: USA and Japan again have the decision on how they are going to play the final 15 minutes. The last time this happened Japan got the tying goal.
108:00: The USA has decided to curtail the fast break and will pack the defense. Japan scored the last time the USA decided to go to this tactic.
110:00: The USA is 10 minutes from victory. The game lies with the defense.
112:00: The USA just avoids giving up the tying goal. Shaky is the defense just as it was in the final 15 minutes of regulation. The Japanese missed an open goal.
113:07: Rapinoe comes out for Tobin Heath.
115:00: Japan has another point-blank chance but Rampone comes over and kicks away a ball from an open goal. Solo is down with an injured knee.
115:40: Solo jogs in place and play is about to begin again.
116:14: Corner kick by Japan leads to Sawa goal to tie it at 2-2. The USA has gone to a prevent defense twice and been burned twice.
119:00: Wambach had shot to win it but it goes wild.
120:07: Red card against Japan’s Iwashimizu in the goal will lead to a USA golden opportunity.
121:50: The shot fails. Another opportunity missed.
MATCH GOING TO PENALTY KICKS
USApenalty kick: Shannon Boxx taking first kick for USA. Blocked.
Japan penalty kick: Miyama good. 1-0 Japan.
USA penalty kick: Lloyd’s kick for USA is over the goal. The USA is now 0-2.
Japanpenalty kick: Nagasato for Japan is blocked. They remain up 1-0.
USA penalty kick: Heath for the USA. She is blocked. USA is 0-3.
Japan penalty kick: Sakaguchi for Japan is good. Japan up 2-0 and one kick away from title.
USA penalty kick: Wambach scores 2-1 Japan.
Japan penalty kick: Kumagai for the Japanese win. It is over. Japan wins on penalty kicks.