Behind the historical victory of Japan in Women's World Cup, there were pain and tears for the historical disaster of the home country.
The photos of World Cup Final's victor Japan rejoicing are quite refreshing.
Better yet, the story behind the victory may make it an even more unforgettable event in the history of World Cup.
It was a historical game, commented the team leader Homare Sawa. Japan's Coach Norio Sasaki commended the players, they were small, but they did great works. I am very proud of them.
Prior to the Japan match with Germany at the quarter-final on July 9th, Sasaki showed the team a video clip of devastated Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, post-tsunami, post-meltdown. When you feel difficult, think of the victims and endure, was the silent message delivered through the video clip.
Although Sasaki did not give a speech himself, the hearts of the team members were touched and ignited through remembering their long-suffering country.
After the viewing, the team was tearing up, and was fueled by an unusual motivation. It was enough for them to win Germany, and eventually U.S., bringing comfort and strength for their home country that copes with the aftermath of the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown.
Karina Maruyama, a substitute on the team who came off the bench to score an extra-time winner against Germany, used to work for Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the operator of the nuclear plant crippled by the march 11 earthquake and tsunami, reports Reuters. Maruyama actually lived in Fukushima as she worked at the Fukushima plant from 2005-2009 and played at its soccer team.
The heart that gained victory for Japan over Germany have triggered its historical - and miraculous - win in Women's World Cup final against the United States.
The U.S. encountered - and lost - chance after chance to make a goal, and Japan persistently chased after its opponent without giving up.
The usual determination and technical efficiency the Japanese showed through the tournament was in full force, while the team could not exactly play up to their potential. It was more of a victory gained by persistence. For the first half of the game it looked like the US would romp away with the trophy after it took the lead in the 69th minute with a goal from Alex Morgan. The Japanese squad wasn't fazed and settled in against the US blitz.
Aya Miyama tied the game with a loose ball goal against U.S. goalie Hope Solo.
Much was the same in extra time, where Abby Wambach gave The States the lead only to see Japanese captain Homare Sawa - the tournament's golden boot winning midfielder - tied the score at 2-2 and forced the game into penalty kicks.
A penalty shootout ensued, and although it was of low-quality it was entertaining, as Shannon Boxx, Tobin Heath and Carli Lloyd, all missed for The States. Japan defender Saki Kumagai held her nerves to settle the encounter 3-1 and earn their glory. After 25 defeats to the Americans, the Japanese pulled off a historic win, and gained its first World Cup trophy.
In the host country Germany, the media was impressed and praised how joyfully the Japanese team celebrated the victory.
During the final game, thousands of Germans cheered Japan. Business teacher Frank Forster summed up the general feeling, saying, After 9/11 we were all a little American, since Fukushima we are all a little Japanese, reports Super Sport.