2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final

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2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final
Penalty vainqueur de Saki Kumagai en 2011.jpg
Japan's Saki Kumagai scores the winning goal during the penalty shoot-out
Event2011 FIFA Women's World Cup
After extra time
Japan won 3–1 on penalties
Date17 July 2011
VenueCommerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt
Player of the MatchAyumi Kaihori (Japan)
RefereeBibiana Steinhaus (Germany)[1]

The 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final was a football match that took place on 17 July 2011 at Commerzbank-Arena, in Frankfurt, Germany, to determine the winner of 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.[2] It was played between Japan and the United States. Japan won 3-1 on a penalty shoot-out following a 2–2 draw after extended time, becoming the first Asian team to win a FIFA World Cup final.[3][4][5][6]

The 2011 final was the last major sporting event to be broadcast in Japan prior to the country's digital switchover that took place on 24 July 2011.


The match was between the United States (USA), which had been a major power in women's association football since winning the inaugural World Cup championship, and Japan, which had never won a major world title, or indeed even reached the finals of a major world competition. This was also the first appearances of the United States in the final after 12 years. The United States was bidding to become the first team to win a third world championship, having won in 1991 and 1999.[7] Japan became the fourth team to win a world championship, joining the United States, Norway and Germany.

The match was the third between the two teams in World Cup play. The United States beat Japan 3–0 in pool play in 1991, and won 4–0 in a 1995 quarterfinal match. Going into the final, the USA had never lost to Japan, with 22 wins and 3 draws.[8] Prior to the World Cup, the United States was the top-ranked team in the FIFA Women's World Rankings, while Japan was ranked fourth.[9]

This marked the first time that a team won the World Cup having lost a match in pool play.[10]

Japan became only the second Asian national team to reach the FIFA Women's World Cup Final, following China's final appearance against the United States in 1999. This was also only the second final not involving a European team.

Route to the final[edit]

Japan Round United States
Opponent Result Group stage Opponent Result
 New Zealand 2–1 Match 1  North Korea 2–0
 Mexico 4–0 Match 2  Colombia 3–0
 England 0–2 Match 3  Sweden 1–2
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 England 3 2 1 0 5 2 +3 7
 Japan 3 2 0 1 6 3 +3 6
 Mexico 3 0 2 1 3 7 −4 2
 New Zealand 3 0 1 2 4 6 −2 1
Final standing
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Sweden 3 3 0 0 4 1 +3 9
 United States 3 2 0 1 6 2 +4 6
 North Korea 3 0 1 2 0 3 −3 1
 Colombia 3 0 1 2 0 4 −4 1
Opponent Result Knockout stage Opponent Result
 Germany 1–0 (a.e.t.) Quarterfinals  Brazil 2–2 (a.e.t.) (5–3 pen.)
 Sweden 3–1 Semifinals  France 3–1
Japan's group stage match against England at Impuls Arena

Despite being ranked 1st in the world by FIFA,[11] the United States was the final team to qualify for the 2011 World Cup. After finishing third in the 2010 CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup, which serves as the CONCACAF qualifier, the United States was forced to defeat Italy in a Home and Away playoff.[12] Japan, ranked 4th,[11] qualified for the tournament by finishing third in the 2010 AFC Women's Asian Cup, which served as the AFC qualifier.

Once at the finals, the United States reached the knockout stage by finishing second in Group C behind Sweden, the only team they lost to in group play. They advanced through the quarterfinals on a penalty shootout with Brazil, in which the United States footballer Abby Wambach scored an equalizer in the 122nd minute of the game – in stoppage time, the latest goal ever scored in Women's World Cup play,[13] – to tie the game 2–2 and bring the game into a penalty shootout. The United States then defeated France 3–1 to reach the final.[14]

Japan reached the knockout stage by finishing second in Group B behind England, which was the only team to defeat Japan in group play.[15][16] Japan then stunned the host nation, two-time defending champions Germany, 1–0 in extra time.[17] They then defeated Sweden 3–1 to reach the final match.[18]



United States[19]
GK 21 Ayumi Kaihori
RB 2 Yukari Kinga
CB 3 Azusa Iwashimizu Red card 120+1'
CB 4 Saki Kumagai
LB 15 Aya Sameshima
RM 11 Shinobu Ohno Substituted off 66'
CM 6 Mizuho Sakaguchi
CM 10 Homare Sawa (c)
LM 8 Aya Miyama Yellow card 97'
CF 7 Kozue Ando Substituted off 66'
CF 9 Nahomi Kawasumi
FW 18 Karina Maruyama Substituted in 66' Substituted off 119'
FW 17 Yūki Nagasato Substituted in 66'
FW 20 Mana Iwabuchi Substituted in 119'
Norio Sasaki
JPN-USA (women) 2011-07-17.svg
GK 1 Hope Solo
RB 11 Ali Krieger
CB 19 Rachel Buehler
CB 3 Christie Rampone (c)
LB 6 Amy LePeilbet
RM 9 Heather O'Reilly
CM 10 Carli Lloyd
CM 7 Shannon Boxx
LM 15 Megan Rapinoe Substituted off 114'
SS 12 Lauren Cheney Substituted off 46'
CF 20 Abby Wambach
FW 13 Alex Morgan Substituted in 46'
MF 17 Tobin Heath Substituted in 114'
Sweden Pia Sundhage

Player of the Match:
Ayumi Kaihori (Japan)

Assistant referees:
Marina Wozniak (Germany)[1]
Katrin Rafalski (Germany)[1]
Fourth official:
Jenny Palmqvist (Sweden)[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e "FIFA Women's World Cup Final 2011: Steinhaus (GER)". refereeingworld.blogspot.com. 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  2. ^ "Japan vs Sweden Update: Japan Wins and Will Face USA in World Cup Final". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Japan edge USA for maiden title". FIFA. 17 July 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Japan Beats U.S. in Thrilling Women's World Cup Final". Time. 17 May 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  5. ^ "Team of destiny turns out to be Japan". ESPN. 17 May 2011. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  6. ^ "USA v Japan - as it happened". Guardian. 17 May 2011. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  7. ^ Women's World Cup – USA see off France to reach final
  8. ^ Hirshey, David (14 July 2011). "Just call her Air Wambach". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  9. ^ FIFA/Coca-Cola Women's World Ranking
  10. ^ "Quarterfinal losses open door for World Cup history: A fan's take".
  11. ^ a b FIFA/Coca-Cola Women's World Ranking, FIFA.com. Retrieved 11 August 2011
  12. ^ CONCACAF to host second leg of WWC playoff Archived 10 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, from concacaf.com, retrieved 14 July 2011
  13. ^ "Guts, Goals And Luck Will Win The World Cup".
  14. ^ As is custom, the U.S. is ready for the semifinals at the Women’s World Cup
  15. ^ "Group Stage 2011 Table / Standings". ESPN Soccernet. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  16. ^ "WWC 2011 Fixtures & Results". ESPN Soccernet. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  17. ^ Longman, Jeré (9 July 2011). "Japan's Late Goal Shocks Germany". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  18. ^ Gerstner, Joanne C. (13 July 2011). "For Japan, an emotional victory over Sweden". ESPN. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  19. ^ a b "Tactical Line-up – Japan-United States" (PDF). FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 17 July 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.

External links[edit]