Japan's women footballers did their nation proud when they beat the United States to lift the World Cup trophy. They stunned the more fancied US team by beating them 3-1 in a penalty shootout.
Norio Sasaki, the coach of the Japanese team, was quoted as saying, "Before we went to the match tonight we had some commentary on television and we heard comments on the situation in Japan. We wanted to use this opportunity to thank the people back home for the support that has been given."
The Japanese were in the finals of a major tournament for the first time ever, and before the match started, they put up a banner saying, "To our Friends Around the World — Thank You for Your Support", -- a practice they had carried out as a post-match ritual throughout the tournament.
Japan's players put up an incredible performance to come back from behind and end the playtime at 2-2. And in the shoot-out, it was their Goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori who made two fantastic saves to see her side home.
The eventual Champions were disciplined to say the least and displayed admirable resilience to underline what has been a basic feature of their country through the ages. Sasaki lauded her players for their commitment and said, "The players were patient, they wanted to win this game. I think it's because of that the Americans scored only two goals."
Captain Homare Sawa's one statement said it all. In the post-match conference she said, "We ran and ran. We were exhausted, but we kept running."