By Josh A., Contributor
The United States women's soccer team has suddenly become one of the most popular teams in the country. With a combination of Hope Solo's amazing saves and Abby Wambach's game winning headers, the U.S. find themselves in the World Cup Final with a chance to better the 1999 World Cup run.
But first, they have to beat a surprise Japan team.
Homare Sawa, midfielder and captain, is Japan's biggest player and one of the biggest female stars in all of Japan. She is an extremely skilled soccer player and a very experienced one, too. Her lone career game in the World Cup was when she was 16 years old, way back in 1995.
This Japan team has had big wins in recent games against tough Germany and Sweden teams. But this isn't your big brother's Japan team. Spearheaded by youth - Mana Iwabuchi is the name to watch - and sparked by national tragedy, the Japanese have shown no quit as the tournament has worn on.
The USA comes to the Cup Final after winning two crazy games against up-and-coming teams in Brazil and France. Abby Wambach has been a huge key to both of the games. Against Brazil, she tied the game up with less than a minute to go in stoppage time of extra time. Against France, she put them up with a goal in the 79th minute. Both goals have been amazing headers. She is big and physical and that is what puts her over the top (literally) of other players.
That size will likely (hopefully) come in handy against a smaller Japan side, but the Yanks will need more than Wambach's golden forehead to win their first World Cup in 12 years.
Hope Solo is a stud in the goal. She has saved countless goals and has suddenly become an American hero. If she produces on Sunday, then she could very well end up being called the greatest goalkeeper in the world.
One of the possible problems for the Americans is their midfield play. They tend to get sloppy and give up the ball quickly back to the opposing team. This leaves all the pressure to their back line which has been better than advertised this World Cup.