After a thrilling tournament, the World Cup Final in Frankfurt, Germany, fittingly received a thrilling match.
Packed with excitement and close momment, the United States came up short as Japan scored two equalizers, and were able to defeat the U.S. on penalty kicks after 120 minutes of action, 2-2 on goals, and 3-1 on penalty kicks.
The Americans had plenty of chances to score in the first half, but simply couldn't find the back of the net. The U.S. hit the post or crossbar on multiple occasions; Japan was fortunate to go to halftime with the match scoreless.
In the second half, Alex Morgan converted on a breakaway on a fantastic long ball from Megan Rapinoe. But Japan responded back 12 minutes later with a goal by Aya Miyama.
Morgan responded in extra time, with a perfect cross to Abby Wambach, who headed the ball in at the 104th minute.
Goalkeeper Hope Solo appeared to be injured late in the match, and then Japan would score on the following play, with a Homare Sawa score in the 117th minute.
Later, Morgan was on the run to the goal, and was fouled leading to a Japan red card in the final minute. It turned out to be a brilliant foul, because it kept Morgan from penetrating into the penalty box.
The match went to penalty kicks, where Japan was able to finish off the U.S. -- a feel-good story after the devastation that rocked the country with an earthquake and tsunami.
Overall, it was a very entertaining tournament, particularly with very high television rating in the U.S.
See you in 2015 in Canada!
Take a look at the highlights of the World Cup Final.