“She is very tough and fit,” he said. “I didn’t ask her to score two goals but she did an excellent job.”
In a battle of Japan’s fine skills against the thrust and hustle of Sweden, the match turned in the second half when Kawasumi caught Hedvig Lindahl off her line and lobbed it over her from about 110 feet away for the final score, one of the best in a tournament full of excellent strikes.
The Japanese players always had more on their minds than their next game in the marquee event for women’s soccer. In the wake of the March 11 tsunami and earthquake, they wanted to provide a feel-good story for fans back home.
And they came through.
Following their latest win, they again unfurled a huge banner that said “To our Friends Around the World — Thank You for Your Support,” referring to the global outpouring of aid after the tsunami, that left nearly 23,000 dead or missing.
“Even little things, like a win can give people courage and hope.”
He didn’t need the tactic Wednesday; his team had enough determination to overcome an early mistake by one of its best players.
Team captain Sawa made an uncharacteristic error in the 10th and fed a defensive pass straight to Oqvist. She gladly took it, ran through the defense and got a lucky deflection to bury the ball past goalie Ayumi Kaihori.View Entire Story
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