Hope Solo, Abby Wambach Happy for Japan
This U.S. women’s soccer team blew 1-0 and 2-1 leads to Japan and lost in the finals of the World Cup on penalty kicks. They’re taking a lot of criticism for choking, but that’s not my focus. Sure it would have been nice to win, but this team will have a chance to earn a gold medal in London in 2012. Additionally, given the natural disasters in Japan, hopefully the World Cup win will be more uplifting for their country than it would have been for the U.S.
Many of the players on the American team share the same perspective.
Goalie Hope Solo, who said she hoped Japan would reach the finals, placed the loss in excellent context.
“We lost to a great team, we really did,” Solo conceded. “Japan is a team that I’ve always had so much respect for, and I truly believe that something bigger was pulling for this team. And as much as I’ve always wanted [to win the World Cup], if there’s any team I would give it to, it would be Japan.”
Abby Wambach, who scored to put the U.S. up 2-1, suggested a more powerful force was at work.
“Evidently it wasn’t meant to be,” Wambach admitted. “We worked so hard, we believed in each other through everything. This is obviously going to hurt for a while, but I’m proud of our team — we never gave up, and congratulations to the Japan team. I think their country is very proud of them.”
Heather O’Reilly expressed a similar sentiment. “I think we knew they were playing for more than just their team; they were playing for their country that had experienced so much. In a way we’re happy for their team. We’re disappointed in the result, but [being the] runner up in the World Cup is a lot to be proud of.”
Similar to the way winning a Super Bowl was uplifting for the city of New Orleans, winning the World Cup could have the same effect in Japan. I hope it does. You never want someone else winning at your expense, but if it serves a greater good it’s worthwhile.