The U.S. women’s soccer team grabbed the media’s attention last week as they battled their way through the World Cup Playoff rounds, defeating a number of reputable opponents. However, the U.S.’ success ended there as Japan went on to defeat the team and take the World Cup Championship in a 3-1 shootout battle to round out their “Cinderella story,” reports the Washington Post
In the early rounds of the tournament, the U.S. surprised the world with a unique determination. Most notably, the team defeated soccer giant Brazil in a huge upset thanks to a last-second goal from star Amy Wambach and a stellar performance in the ensuing penalty shootout. Their play was peaking at the perfect moment.
However, Japan was also seemingly unstoppable on the other side of the tournament bracket. They faced a distinct size advantage but overcame that impediment with a very powerful motivation—they were going to uplift their country after its most devastating year in decades. And after a hard fought game that went into penalty kicks, the Japanese did just that.
“Both teams seems liked they were on a run to destiny, the U.S. building on its miraculous quarterfinal victory over Brazil and Japan reaching its first final in the same year its country was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. But you’d have to be heartless not to admire the Japanese for their stunning drive to the title. It’s a great story,” said Sports Illustrated soccer analyst Grant Wahl.
Though the U.S. team did not emerge victorious, their run for the championship brought attention to both the sport and the individual female athletes competing in the tournament. At the end of the championship game, Twitter was receiving 7,196 tweets per second, according to the Washington Post. This sets a record “tweet rate” for the company and shows that women’s sports were, at least for an instant, at the center of the public’s attention.
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