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Japan an unexpected but deserving champion

Utterly courageous effort from underdogs

Originally Published: July 17, 2011
By Michelle Smith

FRANKFURT, Germany -- Japan was not steamrolled. It was not overpowered. It was not overwhelmed. No, instead it is the 2011 Women's World Cup champion.

It was an utterly courageous effort by the Japanese team Sunday night to defeat the United States in penalty kicks 3-1 at FIFA Women's World Cup Stadium, just another from a team that's been a portrait of courage throughout this entire tournament.

Playing as an underdog, playing for its damaged country, playing gutty, technically ...

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