After the U.S. beat France Wednesday in the semifinals, Solo said she was rooting for Japan to beat Sweden.
“I think with everything they’ve been through, they’re the sentimental favorites,” Solo said. “Plus, I have some good friends on the team.”
Solo’s reference is to the devastating series of earthquakes that took place in March, killing hundreds and destroying cities.
Japan’s emergence in the World Cup is a surprise; this is the country’s first appearance in the tournament, and they already reached the finals. Both Solo and coach Pia Sundhage have acknowledged that Japan has improved and that the team they’re facing the finals is vastly improved from the one they faced in friendlies.