It’s been four years since the United States lost to Japan in a heartbreaking penalty kick loss during the 2011 Women’s FIFA World Cup final.
This is a new day for Team USA, and the question on everyone’s mind is: will the team led by head coach Jill Ellis be able to pull out the win 5 p.m. EST on Sunday to become the 2015 Women’s FIFA World Cup champions?
Ellis seems to think so, according to a report by the Globe and Mail. The coach said on Saturday in a FIFA World Cup press conference that the team has prepared, and feels confident that they have a good shot at the coveted title.
“We’re excited. It’s going to be a tremendous match. We feel like we have a good preparation, and in our preparation we have confidence and are just excited to get this things started.”
The United States and Japan have gone head to head in some of the most memorable matches in women’s soccer over the last half decade, and Sasaki says it’s fate that brings the two teams back together once again for Sunday’s World Cup final.
Japan beat the U.S. for the 2011 title on penalty kicks. Since then, the two nations played two friendlies, including the U.S. victory over Japan in the London Olympics.
“I really am grateful for this opportunity. I feel a sort of fate because we always play in the final against the U.S.”
Sasaki commended the U.S. Women’s FIFA World Cup squad, its coach, and the players’ determination, but said it will be a tough matchup for the Americans.
— Sport Analysis (@SportCoachingPE) July 5, 2015
“The strength of the U.S. team is the power and also the organized way of playing. The structure and the strong desire to win. They are highly motivated. We don’t have as much power, but we have the skills, techniques and a network amongst the players. Probably there will be more supporters cheering on the U.S. in the stadium, but I think our team can convert that into their own power.”
— [ Soccer News ] (@goinsoccer) July 1, 2015
Japan beat England in the semifinals 2-1 after England scored a heartbreaking own goal, while the U.S. claimed its spot in the finals by beating the favorite to win the FIFA World Cup this year, Germany, 2-0.
Ellis said her team is ready and poised to win, and the women are ready to show the world their best game.
“Internally, in our group, we always knew what we had inside of us. I always say it’s like looking at an iceberg. You guys see the top 10 per cent of the iceberg and we’ve got 90 per cent under the water. We know what we’re capable of, we know what we have in us.
I said from the beginning our best game was ahead of us.”
— EOG (@EyeOnGaming) July 3, 2015
Experts predict the U.S. will come out on top, as well. USA Today polled some top FIFA World Cup experts, including Nancy Armour and Laken Litman, and the consensus was unanimous that the Americans would come out on top.
Who do you think will become the Women’s FIFA World Cup champions this year?
[Photo by Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images]