USA gives up lead twice, loses to Japan in penalties in WWC final

USA gives up lead twice, loses to Japan in penalties in WWC final

International Soccer

USA gives up lead twice, loses to Japan in penalties in WWC final

Japan USA 1 (Getty Images)

 

By FRANCO PANIZO

The feel-good story that was the U.S. women's national team at the World Cup has come to a close, and it does so without the fairy-tale ending.

The U.S. team lost in the World Cup final on Sunday, falling to Japan 3-1 on penalty kicks after playing to a 2-2 draw. The win gave Japan its first ever World Cup trophy.

Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath all missed their penalties in a game that saw the United States waste multiple opportunities and a pair of leads.

The Americans started the game strong, created most of the scoring chances, and looked ready for World Cup glory, but an inability to capitalize allowed Japan to equalize late on two separate occasions.

Alex Morgan, who entered the game at halftime, gave the Americans the lead with a left-footed finish in the 69th minute. Japan found an equalizer in the 81st, however, after a poor defensive clearance. The United States went ahead again in extra time off an Abby Wambach header in the 104th minute, but that was cancelled out when Homare Sawa flicked in a corner kick four minutes from the final whistle to force penalties.

Here are the match highlights in case you missed the game:

 

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What do you think of the USA losing to Japan on penalty kicks? Surprised more by the Americans' penalty kick performance or their inability to close out the game?

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