Saturday, July 16, 2011
Abby Wambach at her best late in matches
By Jonathan Costa
The Women’s World Cup Final (Sunday at 2 ET on ESPN, ESPN3.com) features the United States trying to win its third title and Japan looking to become the first Asian team to win the tournament. The winner of this match will be the first champion to finish as group runner-up as well as the first to lose a match and win the Women’s World Cup.
The United States has never lost to Japan, posting a 22-0-3 record with a 77-13 goals scored advantage. The United States has won nine straight matches against Japan, including three in 2011.
Abby Wambach has scored three goals at this year’s tournament, bringing her career total to 12, tying her with Michelle Akers for the most goals by an American in Women’s World Cup history.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wambach is the only player in Women’s World Cup history to score two goals that tied the score or gave her team a lead in the 75th minute or later of an elimination match. Nine other players scored one such goal in their career, but Wambach has scored two -- in consecutive matches of the same tournament.
Japan’s captain, Homare Sawa, is playing in her fifth Women’s World Cup and is one of only four players to appear in five Women’s World Cups. Also for Japan, watch midfielder Aya Miyama. She has scored directly from a free kick at this tournament and also set up two goals by Homare Sawa from set pieces, one from a corner kick and one from a free kick.
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