Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Japan's pitched glory

Japan, which can certainly use a cheerful diversion this year, now has a fine one, after the Japanese women's national football team beat the favoured Americans to claim the Women's World Cup

There's no denying goosebump-inducing athletic narratives can, for a moment, offer escape from life's trials. And there is no denying that Japan, still reeling from the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March, could use a diversion.

On Sunday their ladies in blue delivered.

For 120-plus minutes Japan's national women's team - Nadeshiko - competed with the world's No 1 ranked side, finishing off the United States in penalty kicks. It was Japan's first visit to the Women's World Cup, and Asia's first trophy.

"It hasn't sunk in yet and I just can't believe it," the Japanese goalkeeper, Ayumi Kaihori, told reporters after she sealed the victory. "We have achieved something amazing."

Iraqis will not soon forget that its football team was an inspiration during years of war, winning the 2007 Asian Cup title. English fans still get dewey-eyed about the 1966 World Cup victory on their own soil, the landmark victory before the German curse set it.

The captain of Japan's football team, Homare Sawa, translated as "Glory" Sawa, was so named to bring honour to her family. On Sunday the Nadeshiko, with Sawa at the helm, brought it to their country.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 An Egyptian Orthodox Christian priest give communion during the Palm Sunday service inCairo, Egypt. Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP

Region in focus - April 18, 2014

The best images of the last seven days from around the Gulf and across the Middle East.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National