Japanese fans miffed with World Cup final loss

Tokyo, July 6 (IANS) It was a miserable Monday morning for Japanese fans as they watched the national football team take a 2-5 pummelling from the US in the Women’s World Cup final played in Vancouver.

Japan’s cautious approach in the opening minutes was punished by the American team who planned to come out of the blocks fastest and score earliest and keep scoring, and that they did, reports Xinhua.

Four goals in just 16 minutes, including the fastest goal in a Women’s World Cup final in the third minute from midfielder Carli Lloyd, who would go on to secure her hat-trick in a thunderous individual performance, proved too much for ‘Nadeshiko’ to handle.

Despite clawing back two through Yuki Ogimi and an own goal credited to Julie Johnston, Japan had little to offer against the Americans.

The US exacted revenge for what was a heartbreaking final four years ago in Germany when they lost to Nadeshiko in a penalty shootout after a nail-biting bout of extra time.

Fans here said that the better team won on the day but couldn’t help expressing their disappointment.

“They knew our game plan too well. We always want to control the pace and play a neat passing game, trying to get the ball wide and then exploiting the gaps — like we did with Ogimi’s goal. But the Americans were having none of it,” Yuki Kobayashi, a 42-year-old IT manager, said.

“From the opening whistle the Americans were hungrier than we were. Technically we’re a better team but that counts for nothing against raw passion and confidence. At 0-2 down in a World Cup final, you’d expect more of a fight, more aggressive defending, but when Lloyd had the audacity to shoot and score from the halfway line… well, you know it’s game over.”

It was a similar story from other fans who had gathered early in the morning at the small watering hole, dedicated to showing live football games.

“They just couldn’t match the Americans’ passion, that was the biggest problem. At the end of the day the team who wanted to win it most, would and we just didn’t seem to want it enough. It was almost as if they felt that getting to the final was enough because Nadeshiko really didn’t show up today,” said dejected marketing salesman Tomoya Shimizu.

“We can’t say in all honesty that each player on the pitch gave 100 percent and that was the difference between us and the Americans. That and Lloyd, she was phenomenal.”

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