Disclaimer: I do not own any of the pictures below. They belong to their respective owners (see http://www.fifa.com/womensworldcup/photo/index.html)
A fan looks out, during the semi-final match Japan vs. Sweden
It's been a week since the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup concluded but I'm still celebrating. I probably have seen the highlights video over a thousand times and yet I'm still not over it. What a breathtaking game! I remember waking up on a very early morning and looking for a live streaming of the game online, but to my lack of luck and laziness, I settled on checking the live play-by-play updates instead. But I gotta say, the excitement I felt as new update pops out paralleled the excitement of people who were actually watching the game. That, coming from a non-football fan or any sports in general.
Yep, I'm not a sports fan, I always find it fun to watch the finals of a cup, tournament, or whatever. I see it as an opportunity to make a friendly bet with family and friends. But this Women's World Cup was extra special to me. More than the fact that I made a bet for Japan, more than the fact that I'm such a Japanoholic, Nadeshiko's victory symbolizes so much hope and possibility.
Given the record of the US team in the previous world cups, and the fact that Japan had never beat them on their past 25 matches. Japan's victory over US is a classic David vs. Goliath story. Not only the teams, but also the fan base. In the online community I'm in, the people I follow on Twitter, the people I made bet with, were all for team USA and I kinda felt alone rooting for Japan, but seeing them win against a very strong team was very fulfilling. There were times that I was ready to give up but Nadeshiko Japan managed to equalize the game at a very unexpected manner, 2 times. And every time they did, a new hope glimmers and I believed that they can actually make it. And they did. They never gave up, they truly deserve to win. Just what a healing nation needed.
Nadeshiko Japan, relishing the victory
Hats off to the recipient of the Golden Ball (best player) and Golden Boot (top goal scorer) awards, Homare Sawa. She was amazing throughout the tournament. She remained a leader and an inspiration to the team and even after receiving the award, she remained humble and gave credits to her team mate, stating that she can't take any personal pride in taking them.
Ayumi Kaihori's impressive save
In my opinion, the player of the match Ayumi Kaihori, deserve the Golden Glove award (best goal keeper) instead of Hope Solo. Now I have nothing about the USA's goal keeper, I think she's great, it's just that Kaihori's saves are far more impressive than Solo's. I even watched the US-Brazil highlights just to compare, and I still think that Kaihori outdid Solo.
So now that I've blogged about it, I can move on. I'd like to think that the game converted me to a Foot Ball fan, but I can't say that yet. It's a little frustrating that I can't cheer for my own country. But it gave me a lot of hope that Philippines have a chance in making a name in sports other than boxing. There is hope.