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The Americans got one last chance when Morgan was floored by Azusa Iwashimizu just outside the area in the 121st minute. Lloyd, Boxx and Heather O’Reilly huddled behind the ball before O’Reilly tipped it to Lloyd. But Lloyd’s shot was well wide, and Heath couldn’t make anything happen with the rebound.

The United States had beaten Brazil on penalty kicks, but the Americans didn’t have the same touch Sunday.

“You don’t; you can’t,” U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said when asked to explain it. “Sometimes in, sometimes out.”

Boxx went first, and her shot banged off Ayumi Kaihori’s right leg. After Aya Miyama made hers, wrong-footing Solo, Lloyd stepped up and sent her shot soaring over the crossbar. As the crowd gasped, Lloyd covered her mouth in dismay. Solo saved Japan’s next shot, but Kaihori made an impressive two-handed save on Heath’s shot.

Solo came up with a save, and Wambach buried hers. But Japan need to make just one more, and Kumagai did.