A week ago, the U.S. women’s national soccer team stunned Brazil with a late goal, turning a sure loss into a stunning shootout victory.
On Wednesday, they were thoroughly outplayed by France, but rallied for a late victory.
Today, they had their way with Japan. And the tables turned.
The Americans blew a pair of late leads and turned in a laughable performance in PKs, dropping a heartbreaking Women’s World Cup final to Japan.
The U.S. dominated the run of play early, but couldn’t find the net in a thoroughly one-sided first half. The lack of finishing would come back to haunt them.
Finally, sub Alex Morgan finally came through in the 69th minute, and the Americans looked sure to cruise.
Japan had other ideas. Aya Miyama capitalized on a horrid American defensive mistake in the 81st minute, evening the score and sending the final to extra time.
Abby Wambach buried a header in the 104th minute, putting the U.S. ahead again. But once more, the Americans failed to hold the lead, surrendering a 116th minute goal to Homare Sawa on yet another terrible bit of defending.
The U.S.’ fate was sealed when it failed to finish any of its first tries in PKs. Saki Kumagai went top corner past Hope Solo to win it.