2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final

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2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final
Japão comemora o título! (DSC01182).jpg
Japanese players celebrating the World Cup win
Event 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup
(a.e.t.). Japan won 3–1 on penalties.
Date 17 July 2011
Venue Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt
Player of the Match Ayumi Kaihori (Japan)
Referee Bibiana Steinhaus (Germany)[1]
Attendance 48,817

The 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final was an 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 digital switchover that would take place on 24 July 2011.


The match was between the United States (USA), which has 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. 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'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]

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



United states and Japan in the World Cup Final

The tone was set for a strong the United Sates performance with the two-time world champions showing their intent from the opening whistle. Lauren Cheney forced a save from Ayumi Kaihori with a shot from a highly acute angle, after the forward had outmuscled Azusa Iwashimizu just 25 second into the contest. On eight minutes, Megan Rapinoe found some space on the left and her excellent near post ball was turned just wide by Cheney. Barely a minute later, Wambach fired a shot over as the United States maintained their bright start. Carli Lloyd could then easily have opened the scoring when Japan were unable to deal with Wambach’s presence under a high early cross into the penalty area. The ball fell kindly for the midfielder but she blazed narrowly over the crossbar from 15 meters. Rapinoe then pushed the ball wide at the near post in a move reminiscent of Cheney's effort a few minutes earlier. Unlike recent matches, Japan were struggling to maintain any possession in midfield. The United States kept up their attacking raids as the lively Rapinoe burst into the area on the left and blazed a shot against the outside of Kaihori’s post.

The match started to settle by the midway point of the opening half, and Japan finally had their first shot of note on 22 minutes, but Shinobu Ohno's strike was wayward. The moment of the first half came on 29 minutes as Wambach, the United States all-time top FIFA Women's World Cup goalscorer, hit a stunning shot from close to the corner of the penalty area which rattled the underside of the crossbar and away to safety, with Kaihori well beaten. Japan finally displayed some of their semi-final form just past the half-hour mark as Ohno threaded a pass behind the defence, but Kozue Ando was unable to get power on her effort from a good shooting position. Cheney then pushed a looping header onto the roof of the net after a long ball deceived a static Japan backline. The United States commenced the second half in much the same way they did the first. Just four minutes after the interval, Heather O’Reilly crossed from the right and Morgan, who came on for Cheney during the break, pushed her near post effort against the post. O'Reilly then blasted a shot against the side-netting from distance, while Wambach skied a good opportunity after being set free by a delightful Rapinoe ball. Just past the hour mark, Sawa, enjoying a rare moment of time on the ball in the attacking third, threaded a smart pass for Yukari Kinga but the defender’s shot was well wide. Minutes later Wambach's smart header forced an excellent save from Kaihori as the United States pushed ever closer to an opener. The United States finally secured reward for their dominance with the opening goal on 69 minutes as Morgan broke the deadlock with her second of the tournament. A quick counter attack saw Rapinoe play an excellent ball through for Morgan to use her strength to hold off a defender, before hitting a perfect finish past Kaihori. Japan equalised somewhat against the run of play 12 minutes later as a cross from the right caused chaos in the United States defence, with Miyama taking full advantage to push the ball past Hope Solo from close range. The match was end-to-end in the remaining minutes with Kinga and O'Reilly both firing good efforts in on goal without being able to break the deadlock. So for the fourth time in six FIFA Women's World Cup Finals, 90 minutes proved not enough to find a winner.

The match continued in an open fashion and at a high tempo following the recommencement. Morgan carved out the first opening of extra time only to shoot askew after getting the better of two defenders. The United States again took the lead one minute prior to the end of the opening period of extra time. Wambach powered home a bullet header from close range following Morgan's precise cross. It was Wambach's fourth of the tournament, all from headers. With five minutes remaining, Kinga pushed the ball past the onrushing Solo with only a clearance from retreating captain Christie Rampone denying an equaliser. However, from the ensuing corner, Sawa equalised by diverting Miyama’s corner with just three minutes remaining. The goal not only ensured the match would be decided by penalties but lifted Sawa into the outright lead as top goalscorer, with five goals. Iwashimizu was then sent off for a professional foul as time ran out. Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath failed to convert the United States opening three penalties, and while Yuki Nagasato had her effort saved, Japan were not to be denied as Asia claimed the title for the first time.[19]


17 July 2011
20:45 UTC+2
Japan  2–2 (a.e.t.)  United States
Miyama Goal 81'
Sawa Goal 117'
Report Morgan Goal 69'
Wambach Goal 104'
Miyama Penalty scored
Nagasato Penalty missed
Sakaguchi Penalty scored
Kumagai Penalty scored
3 – 1 Penalty missed Boxx
Penalty missed Lloyd
Penalty missed Heath
Penalty scored Wambach
United States[20]
GK 21 Ayumi Kaihori
RB 2 Yukari Kinga
CB 3 Azusa Iwashimizu Red card 120+1'
CB 4 Saki Kumagai
LB 15 Aya Sameshima
CM 6 Mizuho Sakaguchi
CM 10 Homare Sawa
RW 11 Shinobu Ohno Substituted off 66'
LW 8 Aya Miyama Booked 97'
CF 7 Kozue Ando Substituted off 66'
CF 9 Nahomi Kawasumi
FW 17 Yūki Nagasato Substituted in 66'
FW 18 Karina Maruyama Substituted in 66' Substituted off 119'
FW 20 Mana Iwabuchi Substituted in 119'
Norio Sasaki
GK 1 Hope Solo
RB 11 Ali Krieger
CB 19 Rachel Buehler
CB 3 Christie Rampone
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
  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. 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, 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. ^ "Japan edge USA for maiden title". FIFA.com. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  20. ^ a b "Tactical Line-up" (PDF). FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 17 July 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 

External links[edit]