Feature

Japan: A soccer win that revives a nation

Japan had never beaten the U.S. in any of the 24 previous matchups, said an editorial at The Mainichi Daily News.

Editorial
The Mainichi Daily News

We really needed this, said The Mainichi Daily News. “The Japanese people, faced with so much sorrow over recent months, were able to rejoice at the news” that our national team had defeated the top-ranked United States to win the Women’s World Cup. Japan had never beaten the U.S. in any of the 24 previous matchups. And this match was a nail-biter, with Japan giving the lead to the U.S. twice before roaring back “with tenacity and steadfast determination.” Team captain Homare Sawa had a “starring role in the evening’s drama” when she tied the score in the last minutes of overtime. Then, when the game came down to a penalty shootout, goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori “proved her mettle with a truly spectacular save.”

But it wasn’t just the athletics that inspired us. After each game, the team held up a banner thanking “our friends around the world” for supporting us through a devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. “With people from all over the globe stepping up to help Japan in its moment of crisis, one could not help but feel a swell of emotion as the players spoke for their country to say a heartfelt thank you to the world.”

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