U.S. Versus Japan: Wambachs Headers? Solo's Saves? Japanese Surprise?

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[Black Star News Editorial]

Even if you're not a soccer fan, you should be glued to your television at 2:45 PM (Eastern Time, U.S.) when the American women's soccer team clashes with Japan in the Women's World Cup 2011 final in Germany today.

This looks to be a great game. Japanese skills, speed, precise passing and neat dribbling versus U.S. power, speed and Abby Wambach's headers.

The Japanese are the Cinderella team this year. The team stunned host country Germany, knocking them out of the tournament, before sending the Australians packing. This team has nothing to lose since it was never expected to make it to the final. Yet they've played the United States in recent years and lost the last five games.

The United States team played its heart out to get by Brazil. The Brazilians, leading 2-1 had the game won -- or so they thought-- when Wambach rose above defenders and the goal-keeper to send a thunderous header into the net into the second minute of injury time.

The U.S. team then played a great French team that was expected by many to make it into the final and win it all. The French had nearly 30 shots on goal while the United States had less than a dozen. Many believed the French outplayed the Americans, but as with most sports events, the team that scores the most wins. The U.S. broke a 1-1 tie in the second half then scored a third goal as the French threw everything into trying to tie the game.

Today's final could turn out to be as exciting as the U.S. versus Brazil game.

The Americans never-say-never; the Japanese also are relentless and don't know what it means to surrender. Yet the Japanese will be challenged with the height and strength of the American players, especially when it comes to the corner kicks and free kicks. How to defend against the headers, especially Wambach? The only solution is to score more goals of course--in which case they would have to beat Hope Solo, perhaps the best goalie in women's soccer today.

So it could come down to a Wambach header or brilliant Solo save, especially on penalties. Still, a Japanese surprise can't be ruled out. 

Here's to a great game. "Speaking Truth To Empower."

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