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Women's World Cup final facts: United States vs. Japan

United States

Previous World Cups: Five

Finishes: Champion in 1991 and 1999; third place in 1995, 2003 and 2007

Coach: Pia Sundhage

Top players: F Abby Wambach, D Christie Rampone, GK Hope Solo

Roster

Goalkeepers

1 Hope Solo *

18 Nicole Barnhart

21 Jill Loyden

Defenders

2 Heather Mitts

3 Christie Rampone *

4 Becky Sauerbrunn

6 Amy LePeilbet *

11 Ali Krieger *

14 Stephanie Cox

19 Rachel Buehler *

Midfielders

7 Shannon Boxx *

9 Heather O'Reilly *

10 Carli Lloyd *

15 Megan Rapinoe

16 Lori Lindsey

17 Tobin Heath

Forwards

5 Kelley O'Hara

8 Amy Rodriguez *

12 Lauren Cheney *

13 Alex Morgan

20 Abby Wambach *

* Likely starters

Japan

Previous World Cups: Five

Best finish: Quarterfinal in 1995

Coach: Norio Sasaki

Top players: M Homare Sawa, M Kozue Ando, F Mana Iwabuchi, M Aya Miyama

Times wires

What to watch for Three things to look for from the United States and Japan in today's final:

United States

Hope Solo. She is, arguably, the best goalkeeper in the world, and she essentially gives the Americans an extra defender.

Height advantage. Abby Wambach is one of the best players in the world in the air, and the former Gator standout has scored two goals off headers in the past two games. Japan's tallest player is 5 feet 7 — 4 inches shorter than Wambach.

• Composure in the midfield. The Americans have improved their creativity, and they'll need more of that against Japan.

Japan

Homare Sawa. Playing in her fifth World Cup, the 32-year-old has looked ageless, scoring four goals to share the lead in the tournament with Marta.

Possession-oriented system. Japan has drawn comparisons to Barcelona for its lightning-quick passes and slick combination play, and the Japanese often look as if they're playing a game of keepaway.

Nahomi Kawasumi. After playing just 29 minutes total in the first four games, she was a surprise starter in the semifinal against Sweden and scored twice.

2011 World Cup results

United States, Group C (second place)

Date Opponent Result

June 28 North Korea 2-0 W

July 2 Colombia 3-0 W

July 6 Sweden 2-1 L

Quarterfinal

July 10 Brazil 2-2 W (extra time, 5-3 penalty kicks)

Semifinal

Wednesday France 3-1 W

Japan, Group B (second place)

Date Opponent Result

June 27 New Zealand 2-1 W

July 1 Mexico 4-0 W

July 5 England 2-0 L

Quarterfinal

July 9 Germany 1-0 W

Semifinal

Wednesday Sweden 3-1 W

Women's World Cup final facts: United States vs. Japan 07/16/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 16, 2011 7:59pm]
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