Continued from page 1

Several members of the U.S. men’s team wished the women luck, including captain Carlos Bocanegra. Singer Katy Perry wished the team good luck in a video shown to the team before the game, and Lance Armstrong and Justin Timberlake were among the other celebrities watching from afar.

“Team USA, you have already made us proud,” Timberlake tweeted, “but one more win would be EPIC!”

___

IN CHARGE: The Americans are seeing a familiar face in Bibiana Steinhaus, the referee for the World Cup final.

The German also was the referee for the United States’ first game of the Women’s World Cup, a 2-0 win over North Korea back on June 28 in Dresden. No yellow cards were issued in the match. Steinhaus, a FIFA referee since 2005, also was in charge for Brazil’s 3-0 victory over Equatorial Guinea in the teams’ final group game.

Steinhaus, a police officer, has been a referee in the second-division of the men’s Bundesliga since 2007, the first woman referee at that level. She also acts as a fourth official in the Bundesliga’s top division.

___

BANNER DAY: Japan was on the field early before the final _ with good reason.

The players displayed their banner that reads, “To our Friends Around the World _ Thank You for Your Support,” turning so each side of the stadium could see it. The team has been unfurling the sign after each game to acknowledge the global outpouring of aid in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 23,000 dead or missing. The disaster has been a huge motivator for the players, who were shown pictures of the devastation by coach Norio Sasaki before their upset of Germany in the quarterfinals.