Despite outcome, U.S. women earned respect

Don't we all wish we were in Germany, among the face-painted fanatics, waving, cheering and experiencing the 2011 Women's World Cup fanfare firsthand? For those not in Deutschland, espnW provides the full fan experience.

Land of the Rising Sun

Millions of Japanese fans got up at the crack of dawn to watch Sunday's final match live and support their Yamato Nadeshiko, "ideal Japanese woman." They were ideal indeed as they took on the final match favorite, two-time World Cup champion United States. Unfortunately for the Americans, they couldn't finish, and it ultimately cost them the title.

Possibly the best defender the women's game has ever seen, and America's fearless leader, captain Christie Rampone kept her side in many a game throughout this tournament. The 36-year-old was the last remaining player from the 1999 Women's World Cup championship team. Sadly for Rampone fans, she hung up her Women's World Cup cleats Sunday, declaring 2011 her final World Cup. She made some killer saves to keep the United States in the final. One clear off the back line was reminiscent of Kristine Lilly's lifesaver back in 1999 against China. Although Rampone will not play in another World Cup, she hasn't officially turned in her USA jersey.

Another veteran proved to be vital in Sunday's final. Homare Sawa received the Golden Boot Award for her five tournament strikes and Golden Ball for best player in the tournament, Abby Wambach got the Silver Ball Award and Bronze Boot and Hope Solo was awarded Golden Glove. Sunday's upset certainly left a Sawa taste in the Americans mouth.

@Aaronjdicket: Once everyone gets over the initial shock they will see what a great story this is for Japan, and US women's soccer has a bright future

@Illinifan4life: That'll make for a nice movie in Japan in the future...

@mmackduff: omg japan is my friggin inspiration. after everything they've been through this year, and they come out as the underdogs and win. wow.

@jameswickham: Excellent, Japan. Hope this gives women's football -- and all quality football -- a proper boost.

espnW and fans in Times Square

Fans banded together in New York City's Times Square to cheer on the United States in its quest for a third World Cup title.

@stellareed: Watching the USA/JPN womens world cup game in times square!!! Crowd went crazy with that goal! yfrog.com/kifgisjj

@brinkzyy: I don't often watch the womens cup final....but when I do its on a giant screen in Times Square

Homage to the U.S. WNT

Prior to Sunday's final, a fan composed and performed a song about the United States women's national team and its performance throughout the 2011 Women's World Cup. She mentions most of the squad, and even Sundhage, in her full length tune.

ScrGoalie8 followed up specifically for espnW with a new song about Sunday's final, encompassing more than just a specific play, save, athlete or moment. This USA team is about all 21 players.

Another fan remixed Chris Brown's "Flying Solo" to make "Never Solo," an ode to the USWNT.

Saved by the bar

The United States set another record Sunday, tallying the most shots to hit the post in this Women's World Cup -- amassing a disappointing five, two of which came during the team's finale. No other team has clinked with the woodwork more than three times.

Here are a few lowlights of a forward's biggest foe:

Wambach hit the crossbar in the 28th minute and Alex Morgan poked the post 20 minutes later.

Oqvist against France

Bompastor against USA

A Presidential big deal

The Obama family watching the game.

President Obama actively tweeted during the Women's World Cup final, while he watched the match with his family in the White House.

A selection of the commentary from @BarackObama:

To the women of our national soccer team: Sorry I can't be there to see you play, but I'll be cheering you on from here. Let's go. -BO

"I'm thinking: Score a goal, be a leader, let's get this done." - @AbbyWambach, #USWNT. Game starts in half an hour, and we'll be watching!

So close! Brilliant strike by @AbbyWambach. #USWNT

Amazing goal from Alex Morgan. 1-0 USA! #USWNT

Remember the quarter finals: this team is indomitable. 1-1 with 10 to go. Let's go, #uswnt

Score is now 2-1 thanks to a beautiful goal by Abby Wambach. #USWNT

Tough. Gotta bear down now. Let's go #USWNT.

Incredible performance from #USWNT, no matter what happens. Now on to penalties. Let's win this.

Couldn't be prouder of the women of #USWNT after a hard-fought game. Congratulations to Japan, Women's World Cup Champions.

More Twitter news

President Obama had plenty of company on Twitter. Here's a look at what people were saying before, during and after the game.

Highlights from before the game:

@BonzaPie: Barack Obama tweeted the #USA girls goodluck, Hillary phoned them at the pre-match meal, Japan's PM is cheering on his team.

@ussoccer_wnt: A crowd of fans wait for the #USWNT to board bus to World Cup Final. http://yfrog.com/kiocqjfj

@JudahWorldChamp: Much respect to Title 9. That law has made women's soccer in USA very strong. #USWNT

@karenhunter: hears that San Fran has the women's soccer game up on big screens in their parks. Patriotism at its best. USA! USA!

@TheBillWalton: The sounds of the Star Spangled Banner just moments before the Women's World Cup final sends chills down my spine & consumes me with pride!

Reactions to the game action:

@BJJJunebug13: I encourage young girls to love who they are & not wish to be someone else... Unless that someone is Hope Solo. Then I get it #worldcupfinal

@Lauriewrites: It is nice to see a bar full of people engrossed in a women's sport for a change. #wwc

@zerocl: Nnnnnooooooooo, goal #JPN :( No we start over again, my poor heart, I'm too old for this stress lol JPN 1 - 1 USA #WorldCupFinal

And after:

@TheBestEleven: If we had to lose to anybody I'm glad it was Japan. Heartbreaking loss though. Congrats to @Jfa_Nadeshiko and @ussoccer_wnt. Great #WWC.

@YeahThatsKosher: I cannot believe the #US just lost on PKs. What awful shooting. Gotta give credit to #Japan who played to the end. Fair game all around.

@Themichaelowen: Delighted for Japan. Their country deserved a bit of luck.

@KingJames: USA Women's Soccer Team was great to watch and keep a tab on! Win, lose or draw u guys served our country well! You'll get them next time

Haiku time

Haiku: So many chances / But instead of them cruising / Crossbar took bruising

LC: How many chances/ Of Wambach can they still take? / It will not be long

Webby: Lots of U.S. shots/ Lloyd has spectators hiding / Crossbar feels real safe

Anthony: Japanese crossbar / Seems to move: now just too high / Now inches too low

Fans from the stands

Videos and photographs of fans watching the final sprouted up all over social media sites.

• Emphatic fan honors Brandi Chastain's iconic celebration

• A watch party captures a reaction to Wambach's goal

• Four guys dress the part as ESPN and soccer enthusiasts

• Guy displays Hope Solo flag

• Excitement brews at a pub viewing party

• Goofy fans dress up to show support for country

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