These U.S. women didn’t lose on a comical own goal. They didn’t pout when things didn’t go their way, like the Brazilian women did against the Americans. And on Sunday, they didn’t deflate after failing to convert chances; they kept competing, especially when it became clear that Japan had no intention of giving up.
Taken as a whole, they had a magnificent run. Generally speaking, they expressed a positive message to the women’s soccer movement in the United States.
Now for the bad news:
Just as Brandi Chastain’s famous moment sticks in the memory, this one will stick in the craw. Just as women’s soccer can hang Brandi’s bra on its mantel as a symbol of female determination in sports, this game will be an aching reminder that you can lose, too.
Sunday’s defeat does not rank on the ignominy-o-meter quite like Greg Norman at the Masters, or the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl, or the 2006 Dallas Mavericks/2011 Miami Heat. Those were larger flops.
And there's the national team aspect. These were young women representing their country. (See waiver: section C, subparagraph 5). They gave it their all. It’s just that a lot of their all missed the goal.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Where do the U.S. women go from here? They keep their heads held high and carry on, with an eye toward 2015. Remember, much of the reason they’re considered among the greatest in the world today is because of the groundwork laid by the 1999 team. That reminded young women interested in soccer that anything is possible.
And now that they know losing is possible after you thought you had it wrapped up, maybe they’ll work that much harder.
PST: Should the winners of the Europa League be awarded a spot in the following season’s Champions League? That is the question that UEFA, Europe’s soccer governing body, will likely answer in the affirmative on Friday.
Dramatic end to Women's World Cup
July 16, 2011: The favored U.S. Women's Soccer team took on Japan and captured the attention of millions with their thrilling play. NBC's Anne Thompson reports.
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