Last summer’s surprising triumph of Japanese women’s soccer team over the U.S. rivals was no accident. The Japanese have once again beaten the U.S. team, in a tournament which is being played in Portugal.
Japan beat the Americans by 1-0, becoming the first team to hold the U.S. scoreless in the last three years. It ended a 11-game undefeated series for the Americans, who had not lost a game since last July’s World Cup final in Germany against Japan.
After this win, Japan advanced to the final of Algarve Cup, where it will face Germany.
“I think more than anything, it opens our eyes to areas we can improve in,” said American midfield player Heather O’Reilly. “Better now that we have this experience than later during the Olympics. I think we have a lot to learn from and a lot to grow from, but we’re trying to pull the positives out of it.”
Japan has become probably the most unexpected champion in the World Cup’s history, after defeating host Germany by 1-0 in the quarterfinals, Sweden by 3-1 in the semifinals and USA in the final, by 3-1 after a penalty shoot-out. Before last year’s competition, Japan had only won three games in all its World Cup participations and had never reached the final.