When the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team takes the pitch this Sunday against Japan, it will be an all too familiar place for the red, white and blue.
In 2011, the U.S. came up just short in the Women’s World Cup Final, losing in penalty kicks to an upstart Japanese team riding a wave of patriotism and unity following the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in March. The other two times they’ve been in a final, in 1991 and 1999, they won it all, most notably in the ‘99 World Cup after a game-winning penalty kick by Brandi Chastain.
This year, the U.S. Women are back with a vengeance and have bested all their opponents except Sweden, whom they tied during the group stage. But so are the Japanese women, who have quietly won every game they’ve played. The U.S. has never placed lower than third in the history of the Women’s World Cup, and a win Sunday would be the third-ever Women’s World Cup title for the U.S., more than any other nation has won in the tournament’s history.
What will it take from the U.S. Women’s team to secure a victory on Sunday? Where do you think this year’s U.S. Women’s team ranks among the best U.S. Women’s teams of all time?
Caroline Rigby, women’s sport reporter for BBC Global News. She’s in Vancouver to cover the Women’s World Cup Final. She tweets @Carigby
Brandi Chastain, retired soccer player and former member of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. Her game-winning penalty kick during the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final led the U.S. to a win over China. Chastain is now a coach for the varsity soccer team at Bellarmine College Preparatory School in San Jose