I know this may be unfair to say, because we are in the 6th edition of the Women’s World Cup, but the Women’s World Cup was born yesterday. Because a true Mundial, needs iconic moments. Historical talking points. Iconic for the football and not for someone showing her bra.
This game had something of each of the three. Germany entered the game with 14 wins and a draw in their 15 previous World Cup games. Obvious favorites for a third concecutive cup – to be won on home soil. They produced 19 on-target attempts. Japan had never beaten a European side in World Cup play. The Wolfsburg stadium played a 12th woman for Germany.
Mizuho Sakaguchis’s play in central midfield inspired 120% effort from every Japanese woman. A combination of supreme commitment with coolness and top draw soccer intelligence in her pass distribution.
But Karina Maruyama’s 109the minute goal, a classic World Cup counter punch killer, was that iconic moment.