The 2011 USA-Japan Women’s World Cup final had a wild finish that needs a deep rewind

– It’s July 17th, 2011. We’re in Frankfurt, Germany for the final of the Women’s World Cup. The United States leads Japan two to one in the 117th minute. If they stop this last
ditch Japanese corner kick they could take home their
third World Cup trophy. But before this play unfolds we need to remember how we got here. How a fresh face helped
the Americans pull ahead after a frustrating first half. How Japan pounced on mistakes to take this to extra time and how these teams got
here in the first place. One narrowly avoiding collapse, the other still reeling
from national tragedy. Before Japan takes this
corner we need to rewind. (soft music) The US and Japan have two of the best women’s soccer teams on earth. It shouldn’t be a surprise to see them in the final together but they’ve each had a funky World Cup. The US is FIFA’s top ranked team but they nearly missed
this tournament entirely. The Americans were clear favorites to win the CONCACAF
qualifying tournament in 2010 but in the semi-final they
suffered a historic upset, falling to a Mexican side that
had never beaten them before. Because they whiffed
on that automatic berth the US was thrust into a two
game playoff against Italy, which mercifully they won. Thus the favorites to win this
World Cup were also the 16th and final team to qualify for it and things didn’t get simpler from there. The US failed to win their group, falling to second in Group C because of a 2-1 loss to Sweden, and they were moments away from losing to Brazil
in the knockout stage before Abby Wambach’s soaring header in stoppage time of extra time. The latest goal in cup history sent that quarter-final match to penalty kicks and an eventual US victory. So the Americans took a
rocky road to get here but it’s nothing compared
to the real life terror from which this Japanese
team is still reeling. Just four months ago a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. The disaster killed over 15,000 people, destroyed innumerable buildings and triggered nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant. While a mourning nation
picked up the pieces the national soccer teams
training facility, J-Village, was converted into a base for workers sorting through the Fukushima damage. One of the player on this
Japanese team, Aya Sameshima, played for a club team
owned by the power company and actually worked at the plant. Since the disaster she’s
joined the Boston Breakers becoming the teammate of a bunch of the current American players. The national squad considered skipping the World Cup but ultimately
stayed in determined to inspire their beleaguered home
country with their play. And even after finishing
second in their group like the US did they’ve done exactly that. The Japanese conceded an early goal to Sweden in the semi-final but Nahomi Kawasumi tied it. Homare Sawa scored a header for the lead and then Kawasumi buried a long range shot to make Japan the second ever Asian side to reach a World Cup final. Hoping to outdo China’s
loss to the US in 1999. And their coach won’t let them forget what they’re playing for. Before Japan’s quarter-final match verse the host nation, Germany, Norio Sasaki presented his
players with a slideshow of the destruction back home. It was a stirring reminder and players like Aya
Miyama site the photos as a direct inspiration
for the refined, relentless passing attack that carried
Japan to this final. But the odds are against
them in this match up. They’ve never beaten the United States, suffering defeats as
recently as a shut out in a friendly two months ago and that underdog status
was evident immediately. It took only seconds for Lauren Cheney to find an opportunity. Though she, perhaps,
chose wrong in shooting instead of passing off to Wambach. That began a torrent of American offense that weirdly produced nothing. Cheney very nearly scored
a couple minutes later off a feed from Megan Rapinoe, then Wambach and Carli Lloyd both sailed shots just a bit high and the goal frame took a beating. First, off one of several
blown chances by Rapinoe, then by a brutally unlucky Wambach missile that struck the cross bar. The United States took 12
shots in the first half but only one was on goal. With a half-time score of nil-nil, Japan had to feel fortunate
and the US like they left a substantial lead on the pitch. – [Announcer] Half-time here. Fascinating stuff, a
story of missed chances. – Obviously the score has
changed since half-time and if you look closely
at the 11 Americans out there right now you’ll
see a couple new faces. One of them has made all the difference. 22 year old Alex Morgan is the youngest player on the US roster but she already flashed
her scoring ability with a goal against
France in the semi-final. So, with an ankle injury hobbling Cheney Morgan came out for the second half and in the 69th minute finally found the back of the net, off an unbelievable
long ball from Rapinoe. That should’ve been the winner but 12 minutes later a missed cue right in front of the net
gifted Japan’s Aya Miyama the opportunity to ruin
Hope Solo’s clean sheet and send the match to extra time, which meant the youngster had to come to the rescue again. Serving a perfect driven cross to Wambach’s deadly forehead. That gave us the score
we’re staring at right now. Morgan is the second ever substitute to score in a World Cup final. She’s the player to record
a goal and assist in a final and she’s gonna today’s hero if the US just snuffs out this corner. So lets talk about this
corner, what can we expect? Japan isn’t really a set piece team, in part because they have
the shortest average height of any team in the tournament. But at least defending corners today they’ve done an outstanding job. Stifling the nearly six foot tall Wambach. And they’ve got weapons,
Miyama and Hamore Sawa. Miyama, who scored Japan’s one goal today, is taking the corner and she’s threaded some gorgeous passes through
the American defense, including this threatening one
for Sawa in the 112th minute and despite her failure to
break through so far today Sawa is a huge threat. She scored a hat-trick during
group play against Mexico and she had that go-ahead goal against Sweden in the semi-final. A fifth goal would win
her the tournament’s Golden Boot award over
Brazilian legend, Marta. And while they’re trying
like hell to stop her these Americans love
and respect Hamore Sawa. Several know her
personally from her stints with a few different US clubs. Wambach is a former teammate of Sawa’s and she’s not the only
one professing admiration for the star and leader of
this impressive Japanese side. So Sawa is the scorer to contain and if we rewind just a bit we’ll see the US has extra reasons to worry if they let Japan tie this thing and send it to PKs. For one thing the Americans
have already won a game on PKs and you can be certain Japan scouted their decision making in that context. More recent concerns include
the fact that Rapinoe, one of their usual kick takers, was subbed out in the 114th minute. And the last worry sprung
up just moments ago, on the chance that led to this corner, Solo, the keeper, already
coping with shoulder and hamstring injuries
appeared to hurt herself again. So the US is extra desperate
to snuff out this attempt. Doing so would all but wrap up their third World Cup victory. A victory spearheaded by
their youngest rising star. And it would be an especially sweet one given how close this team
came to getting knocked out and how close they came to not
even making the tournament. Their greatest foe right
now is the formidable Sawa, the obvious target for this corner who could continue a
brilliant World Cup run and this game with a goal here. If she and Japan can snatch this victory they will make history. It’ll be their first win over the US, the first World Cup for
whole continent of Asia and a hard fought tribute
to their country people picking up the pieces
of a terrible disaster. This corner means everything
so let’s see what happens. Welcome to a moment in history. – [Announcer] Corner kick
for the USA to survive here. Miyama, Sawa does it! Oh, Japan have done it again. Hamore Sawa. The darling of Japan. – [Seth] Japan did indeed go on to win the World Cup in penalty kicks but if you wanna see
an episode of Rewinder where something good happens to the US here’s the 99 World Cup, and here’s some more episodes and here’s me eating a carrot.

Stephen Childs


  1. And now the Netherlands stands in front of the US…

    Who will win?

  2. Excellent content but the fake VHS rewind and flicker effects are REALLY annoying.

  3. Euroleague content maybe?? Like the 2012 Final between Olympiacos and CSKA Moscow which ended on a game winner??

  4. I know this is an impossible suggestion, buuuut

    1995: Efren Reyes Z-shot vs Earl Strickland ples LOLOLOL

  5. Honestly I was really rooting for the Japanese over the USA here as much as I love our ladies. Japan had just experienced that horrible hurricane that devastated their country. They needed some type of hope to bring back to their people and thankfully they did. It was a well deserved win that Japan needed.

  6. Great video. Came to the video without knowing the result and you actually made me feel anxious .

  7. This match was insane… probably one of the greatest sports matches I've ever seen. The way the Japanese came from behind TWICE to equalize and ultimately seal the deal in PKs to pull off an enormous upset.. What a day for Japan🙌🙌

  8. This is my favourite World Cup of all time!! So underrated! Can’t write a script like that.

  9. The U.S. women's team is so arrogant. Their ads were made as if they had won. I remember watching this match but no others. I was glad that the U.S. lost because they were so full of themselves and the same with their fans. I haven't seen any of the world cups since then, but I'm really hoping for an upset here too. Go Netherlands!

  10. I will always remember this W. USWNT was not ready for prime time, revenge for the US came 4 years later and with the refs not helping Netherlands on round of 16, a third consecutive final would be set. Best Woman’s football rivalry ever

  11. Every time I hear, "Welcome to a moment in history" in almost every video, the suspense and emotion hits harder and more real

  12. Here's a soccer themed idea: Diego Chara is an MLS all-star for the first time, he leads the league in yellow cards since joining, and yet the timbers have never win a match without him🤔

  13. Yo guys, can you pls just give us 5 minutes of pure celebration so we can actually get the feeling of what it was like to witness that.

  14. As someone from the USA I’m happy the Japanese won during a hard time for their nation

  15. 50% anime jojoke
    50% wwwii

    Perfect balance should be

  16. A shame the the refs are handing the US the title this year, they would've been knocked out by Spain if it wasn't for the horrible refs

  17. 5:22 you mean female world cup final, Marco reuse did it

  18. This video: the US and Japanese teams have the best FOOTBALL teams on earth. US AND JAPANS MENS TEAM: trash

  19. Please do kawhi Leonard game winning shot you could talk about the raptors spurs trade some signings and more

  20. They should do 6-1 Barcelona vs PSG. Probably the wildest game in the history of soccer.

  21. Watching this after 1h us won their world cup final😂😎 youtube n its dam recommendation algorithm🤔

  22. wow bro that's crazy. Can't beliveve that happend 😐😐😐😐😐😐😐😐

  23. I don't know if this will ever be seen but please do the 2008 mens 4×100 freestyle relay from the Beijing olympics, Michael Phelps 2nd gold medal on the way to winning 8 in one olympics. I don't like swimming that much but that was the most amazing finish to a race ever seen, even the announcers were in disbelief

  24. Bautista bat flip against Texas in the 2015 ALDS & the last day of the 2011 mlb season

  25. This was an awesome episode, was on edge the whole time!

    USA JPN 💪🏽👍🏽🏆😎

  26. I’ll always be slightly sad that the US didn’t win this one but no country needed a win more and needed something to be happy about in the summer of 2011 than Japan did. I’m glad this win was a big damn deal for the country and helped exponentially grow the game by inspiring the next generation of stars.

    Also, eternal middle fingers for ESPN for not airing the game live on ABC that day and instead showing tape delayed coverage of the British Open instead despite the world already knowing who won. I didn’t have cable at that point in time and I’ll forever be bitter that I couldn’t watch this game.

  27. Wow, I remember watching this live. It’s crazy how much has changed in my life and the world since July 2011. Really cool.

  28. Please do the Chelsea-Barcelona semifinal game of the 2012 champions league. It has lots of drama involved (mostly because of the 2009 semifinals between both teams where the referee's decisions in that match were deeply controversial).

  29. The better team didn't win that day. It was a fluke.

  30. Even when you know what’s gonna happen you still get the chills. I love this series

  31. Good video showing the USA women some love! I live in NYC and always around the time the mens World Cup is on, you see everybody all around the city wearing their country jersey and the bars all full packed showing the World Cup games. But alas during the womens World Cup, u wouldn't even know its goin! No jerseys, no bars showing games, no support, no nothing! I feel so bad for the women teams but, congrats to them!!

  32. This week, I'd love to see a rewinder on the MLB all-star game finishing as a tie in 2002. Also, may not be appropriate this time of year, but I still think John Stockton's buzzer beater against the Rockets in 1997 deserves a rewind as well.

  33. David Tyree's catch In Superbowl 42 must be a rewind video

  34. I've watched the corner kick 5 times now and I still don't know how that shot went in. The angle on that kick in the way that sAwa twisted her body and basically kicked it with her heel was unbelievable. Japan deserve to win that game, one of the best shots I've ever seen.

  35. I'd love to see a rewinder on Naeher's penalty save in the WC semi final

  36. Could you guys please do one on Evan Longoria hitting the walk off Home Run to clinch the wild card in 2011? It would be so cool if you did

  37. Please make a rewinder of this one https://youtu.be/pS5peqApgUA

  38. Rewind the end of the 2006 mets season when we lost a heartbreaking game against the cardinals

  39. Japan was a great team at the time and they should have won,but all the pieces came together at the perfect time for them to win.Not lucky just fortunate

  40. Suggestion for an episode of rewinder:
    The end of the 2019 Cricket World Cup final on the 14th July 2019- England beat New Zealand on boundaries scored in the super over, after both teams scored 241 runs in their 50 overs and 15 runs in the super over.

    (Given that I’m posting this suggestion less than an hour after this actually happened, it might take a while for a rewind on it to be necessary, but oh well)

  41. Here cus I want a rewind of the Dame “Bye-Bye” shot against OKC, then do a Collapse of OKC. Thanks.

  42. You should do a rewind on Alex Bergman’s walk off in game 5 of the 2017 WS

  43. You guys should do the 2007 rockies vs padres tiebreaker game!

  44. Even as an American, how could you not cheer for Japan in the World Cup

  45. I'm an American but I think it was more important for Japan to win that Cup because they as a country needed it so much.

  46. Where is the 1950 world cup final, some Brazilian fans commited suicide in the stadium, it was that huge of an event

  47. As much as it pains me to say this, but you should almost definitely do a rewind on Gerrard’s slip in 2013/14

  48. I was SO disappointed when that happened. But after the team's political shenanigans after the 2019 World Cup, I'm over them. I don't enjoy watching them any more.

  49. Neymars winning pk in the 2016 gold medal match at the Rio Olympics

  50. 5:55 hmmm Japan threading through American defenses, sounds familiar…

  51. I know this is recent but you should do Lucas Moura's last second winner vs Ajax.

  52. Spain vs Netherlands: 2010 FIFA World Cup Final rewinder and the beef history of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid

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