Monday, July 18, 2011

Japan wins World Cup

We'll take a break from mortgages and real estate statistics to write about yesterday's World Cup soccer final which was won by Japan on penalty kicks. While certainly not a soccer fan, I still found yesterday's game fascinating to watch. For the first 30 minutes, the US had numerous scoring chances but repeatedly failed to put the ball into the net. It was not until more than 60 minutes had elapsed that the Americans finally scored. But the US revision to defensive tactics failed. With just a few minutes left, Japan took advantage of some sloppy defensive ball handling in front of the US net and scored the tying goal.

Midway through the 30 minute overtime, the US scored to pull ahead, 2-1. With goals in soccer so rare, I (and most others I suspect) felt that the game was over at that point. Not so the Japanese players. With just a few minutes left, they again tied the score after a post-corner kick scramble in front of the US net. Overtime ended with the game tied. The outcome would be decided by penalty kicks. The TV camera that pried its way into the Japanese pre-kick huddle showed their coach smiling serenely - a bad omen for the US, I thought. Penalty kicks are supposed to be sure things with a rare save often being determinative. But the US shooters didn't rise to the occasion, almost as if they knew they lost the game by giving up that tying score. The Japanese players drilled home more balls than the Americans, and won an amazing victory. If it hadn't been the US team opposite them, we all would have been cheering for the Japanese.

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