- Associated Press - Thursday, July 14, 2011

FRANKFURT, GERMANY (AP) - Meticulous planning and execution are everything in Japanese soccer. So when the team falls behind, there is a system to rely on, a belief that there is a way back.

Japan is in its first Women’s World Cup final, and its quick passing could pose a challenge for the favored United States on Sunday.

Coach Norio Sasaki has been planning for this moment since the 2008 Olympics. Japan finished fourth in Beijing, which the coach says was the intent all along.

Now he adds: “This time we said, let’s go to the final.”