It’s the women’s World Cup, and although it doesn’t draw the same world-wide media support as the men, it still gives off the same tense, edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting anxiety and tension. In short, it is a female sport that matches the men’s, indeed.
For the first time, an Asian team knocks out the current 2nd-ranked ladies team in the world: Germany. Japan now moves into the semi-final round where they will face Sweden, and just one victory away from the final match, and a chance to be the world champions.
They said that Japan couldn’t beat Germany. They said Germany was “too tall.” Even now, after the fact that Germany was out-finessed and outplayed, the articles STILL say things like “Japan beat a team that FAR outclassed them.” Really? Last time I checked, a team that “far outclasses” another team will win, and looking again now at the final score, I see that Japan has one solid, skillfully executed goal, whereas the only thing Germany has to show is one big goose egg.
I don’t mean to be rude, I really don’t. Please pardon me if it seems that way. However, some things about this are aggravating to me. First, who ISN’T tired of seeing teams like Germany advance to the finals, while Asian teams like Japan continually get passed over, even when doing well? As a matter of fact, Japan was written off long ago, even after beating Mexico 4 goals to none, on the basis that Mexico isn’t a “strong team.” A recent article published on www.jayreas.com says that “Japan isn’t going to win in the fashion they took Mexico down in.” Oh? Why not? I have gone back over the previous matches on FIFA’s website and watched the highlights. I noticed a few things…
First, Japan does an excellent, and consistent job of maintaining the bulk of ball possession. They create good opportunities to score, and while they may not have as many shots on goal, they tend to get better quality looks than the other teams. Germany was credited with 23 shots, and yet scored none. Most of those didn’t even have a chance to happen, and I wonder why they are even considered “shots” to begin with.
Sweden is a very large team — very tall, very strong. These are the reasons given for the “victory” that Germany would have over Japan, on top of being the “more talented” of the two teams. After this past weekend, however, Japan proved not only that they have the desire, passion and talent to win, but on top of that they made useless Germany’s height and physicality.
In fact, this match was a step up in physicality on behalf of Japan…..it was almost as if they had mentally prepared themselves to meet this challenge in advance.
Third, I don’t see Sweden creating as many shot opportunities as other teams like Germany, and many of their goals have been what I call “chance,” where something unique or non-typical occurs, resulting in an otherwise easy goal, or what me and my brother used to call, a “gimme.” Conversely, when I look at the goals scored by Japan, I see a higher degree of precision and accuracy, and their points coming more as a result of skill rather than chance. Actually, as I was taking notes, I didn’t see a single goal by Japan that was “chance” or “luck.” In a way, this bodes well for Japan too, since they haven’t, in effect, “used” any of their lucky goals yet.
Additionally, Japan has some “nice” missed shots that could have easily been goals. Many times, these are 50/50, and could have easily been in the back of the net. For example, the score of the game they played against Mexico could easily have been 5 to nothing — go to www.fifa.com and look at the match highlights. If that doesn’t show Japan’s talent, I don’t know what does.
Lastly, Japan BEAT GERMANY. This was not a team to sniff at! How could this be a fluke? They played hard and made a tremendous goal, and won the game.
Japan, well-rested and calm like they usually are, can easily handle Sweden, and I expect, and hope, to see them score a few goals against them, move on to the final, and then win that as well.
Good luck in the World Cup, Japan, because you deserve it!