Redemption! U.S. women beat Japan 2-1 for Olympic soccer gold
U.S. star forward Abby Wambach shows her colors after her squad's gold medal win over Japan.
August 9th, 2012
05:14 PM ET

Redemption! U.S. women beat Japan 2-1 for Olympic soccer gold

Complete coverage and all the conversations surrounding the 2012 London Games are available at CNN's "Aiming for Gold" Olympic blog.

[Posted at 5:16 p.m. ET] Hands on hearts as they close out the ceremony with the "Star-Spangled Banner." The young women on the U.S. team are smiling and singing victoriously with shiny new, gold medals dangling from their necks. That's it for the live blog. We appreciate you stopping in, and we hope you enjoyed the coverage!

[Posted at 5:13 p.m. ET] Sounds like the crowd cheers loudest for Wambach, who at 32, might be standing on that podium for the last time, but who knows?

[Posted at 5:11 p.m. ET] The three-time reigning Olympic champs are up next. As they hold their locked hands aloft in victory, the crowd cheers. Hope Solo gets her gold medal first. She's beaming.

[Posted at 5:07 p.m. ET] The Japanese women are bearing wide grins as well as "Chariots of Fire" plays in the stadium. You wouldn't know they just lost a heartbreaker of a soccer match. They seem thrilled with their silver medals as they show them off for the cameras. They should be proud. They just played one heck of a physical match.

[Posted at 5:04 p.m. ET] Now, the Canadians - decked out in their new silverware, hanging from their necks on purple lanyards - are accepting bouquets. They're all smiles as they lift the bouquets to the cheers of the crowd.

[Posted at 5 p.m. ET] The teams have taken the field for the medal ceremony. The third-place Canadians go first and are receiving their bronze medals.

[Posted at 4:58 p.m. ET] OK, time for some fun. The U.S. Soccer Federation wants to have a little fill in the blank contest. Tweet back at them, or let us know below how the win made you feel:

[Posted at 4:54 p.m. ET] Well, that didn't take long. Nike already has its ad out:

[Posted at 4:51 p.m. ET] U.S. women's national team just tweeted, calling this fine group of soccer players "golden":

[Posted 4:48 p.m. ET] The U.S. women's gold just put the country in a tie with China for most gold medals, at 37. The U.S. is still leading in total medals.

[Posted at 4:42 p.m. ET] Final shot tally: The U.S. had 14 shots, seven on goal and four corners. Japan had eight shots, four of them on goal and three corners.

[Posted at 4:40 p.m. ET] Emotions running high with both teams. Megan Rapinoe is in tears. She didn't score today, but she had two goals against Canada. She's blowing kisses to the crowd with an American flag draped over her back.

[Posted at 4:37 p.m. ET] "We are the Champions" plays in he background as the U.S. women pose giddily with the American flag. Some are wearing a shirt that says, "Greatness has been found." The Japanese team stands together and bows toward the crowd.

[92nd minute] Ref blows whistle! USA wins 2-1 in an absolute thriller.

[91st minute] Cheney takes her time with a set piece. She connects with Alex Morgan whose shot is blocked.

[90th minute] Abby Wambach gets the first booking of the game, a yellow card, for  a late tackle. Fourth official announces two minute of injury time.

[89th minute] Cheney's corner is headed way wide by Wambach.

[88th minute] Morgan again on the end of a long pass. It's like it's her job. She dribbles for a bit near the touch line and earns a corner.

[87th minute] It's the closing minutes. Three minutes of regulation left, and the defending World Cup champions need a goal to take it into overtime.

[86th minute] They're taking off Ohno. Wow. Karina Maruyama comes in for the striker who has given the U.S. defense fits the entire game. No more subs for Japan.

[85th minute] Morgan taken down by Saki Kumagai. A Lauren Cheney service on the set piece is headed wide by Wambach.

[84th minute] Rampone with a terrible giveaway to Iwabuchi, one of the subs. Iwabuchi dribbles into the box and tries to bend it around Hope Solo, who proves too tall for the shot.

[82nd minute] After another American buildup, Carli Lloyd gets the ball on the left side, just outside the box, but rips its high.

[80th minute] Becky Sauerbrunn comes in for Rachel Buehler. Each team has one sub left.

[79th minute] Morgan gets on the end of yet another long ball down the right side. This time she finds Christine Rampone, who puts a weak shot left of the goal.

[78th minute] After a testy tackle from Carli Lloyd, the ref has a word with her. The ensuing set piece is headed away by Shannon Boxx for a Japan corner.

[77th minute] Mana Iwabuchi comes in for Aya Sameshima. It's the second sub for Japan. One left.

[76th minute] As the game progresses, it's becoming clear why they call Morgan "Baby Horse." She is all over the place. She just can't seem to find that finishing touch.

[75th minute] The game is getting more and more physical. Alex Morgan gets control again and dances through the box, only to put it over the goal again. She had Wambach open for a split second.

[74th minute] Solo gets a hand on it as she's knocked down. More pinball action. LePeilbet makes a hip save before the ref calls a foul in the box on Japan.

[73rd minute] Japan is looking like they might score soon. A lot of nice passing between Ohno and Miyama. Tension building, as Japan earns another set piece for Miyama.

[71st minute] Set piece in a dangerous, dangerous spot for the U.S. team., about 23 meters out. Miyama sends it into the six-yard box but Wambach clears for a corner.

[68th minute] A great save by keeper Miho Fukumoto on a sliding U.S. shot keeps it 2-1, but the pace is picking up on both sides of the ball. The crowd can sense it.

[66th minute] Miyama is hungry. After collecting a pass, she dribbles toward the arc and rips a shot, but it's high and wide.

[64th minute] Japan definitely isn't happy with the goal. They want more. They quickly earn a corner, but Miyama's service is tidily collected by Hope Solo. Still 2-1 USA.

[63rd minute] Japan threatening once again. Ball bouncing around like a pinball in the U.S. box after an Ohno shot, and after a weak clearance from Christine Rampone, it slips out to Yuki Ogimi who easily puts it away. Japan closes to within one. USA 2- Japan 1.

[61st minute] A pass to Nahomi Kawasumi has a bit too much pace on it and goes out of bounds.

[59th minute] Asuna Tanaka comes in for Mizuho Sakaguchi. It's the first Japanese sub.

[59th minute] Nahomi Kawasumi dances on the left side of the U.S. box, but is tackled just inside it. No call.

[57th minute] Lauren Cheney comes in for Megan Rapinoe. It's the first sub of the game.

[56th minute] Aya Miyama sends in a short setpiece, which is cleared from the middle of the U.S. box. Alex Morgan is on the end of the counterattacking pass and takes the ball from the right side to the arc and sends a shot well over the goal.

[54th minute] Lloyd gets the ball near midfield and dribbles virtually unchallenged to about 20 meters out and shreds a shot into the left wall, just out of Fukumoto's reach. 2-0 USA.

[54th minute] A few ugly clearances by USA. It's finally cleared, and Carli Lloyd scores!

[53rd minute] Yuki Ogimi smartly lets a cross pass by her to Aya Miyama in the middle of the box, but the captain's shot goes wide left of the goal.

[51st minute] Team USA looking like they've regained those nerves. A little sloppiness here and there before Alex Morgan gets on the end of a long pass near the top of the Japanese box and takes it to the left of goal. A high cross to Abby Wambach is knocked away by Miho Fukumoto.

[49th minute] Alex Morgan on the end of a nice counterattack, but after a couple of twists and turns, her cross is deflected out of bounds. USA corner.

[48th minute] Japan looking to score early, but an ugly cross poses no threat. Japan looking more physical with crisper passing in second half.

[47th minute] Half starts with a quick foul by Shannon Boxx. Dangerous set piece bends into the six-yard box, but Hope Solo comes out and ably punches it out. It appears Rachel Buehler held an attacker in the box.

[46th minute] Kickoff to second half!

[Halftime] The Japanese women did not earn a single corner in the first half. They had four shots, only two of them on goal, though one shot slammed off the crossbar and likely would've made it past Hope Solo if it had been on target.

[Halftime] The U.S. had seven total shots in the first half, five of them on goal. The team also had two corner kicks.

[Halftime] Carli Lloyd vowed before the game that this was going to be different from the World Cup and that this was “an opportunity to show the world that we're the No. 1 team.” She’s done her part so far – it was her head that gave the United States a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute.

[Halftime] The U.S. goal marks Alex Morgan's fifth assist of the tournament and Carli Lloyd's third goal of this Olympics.

[Halftime] Half ends with a ball into the U.S. box that's easily cleared after Abby Wambach collides with midfielder Homare Sawa.

[45th minute] Tobin Heath takes a shot from Brighton. Way out. Two bouncer is easily handled by keeper Fukumoto.

[43rd minute] Another ball into the box for the U.S., but the ref blows the whistle after Wambach's dangerous play in the box. Saki Kumagai goes down, but she gets up pretty quickly.

[42nd minute] Carli Lloyd jukes a defender and dribbles down the center of the field and rips a shot on goal from about 25 meters out. Miho Fukumoto covers.

[41st minute] Another U.S. run down the right side. The cross looks like a field goal. Waaayyy over goal.

[40th minute] U.S. taking its time, perhaps cooling off from the first half's exhausting pace so far. Japan gets the ball and briefly threatens the left side, but it's quickly snuffed out by the U.S. defense.

[38th minute] Japan pressing again, and Ohno rips a curling ball to the right side that just misses the goal. Hope Solo looks like she may have it covered, though.

[36th minute] Sloppy U.S. play at midfield gives the ball away, but Nahomi Kawasumi's pass into the box is a little long.

[35th minute] U.S. taking its time to develop its next attack. Lots of passes around the backfield.

[34th minute] Some fancy footwork from Shinobu Ohno on the left side, and captain Aya Miyama makes a great run into the box but pounds the ball off the crossbar.

[32nd minute] Another corner for Team USA is headed toward goal by Wambach but cleared away fairly easily.

[30th minute] Shinobu Ohno gets loose on the left side of the box and threatens to get on the end of a deft pass, but a physical tackle from Rachel Buehler douses the threat.

[29th minute] Tobin Heath plays a long cross right in front of goal, and Azusa Iwashimizu tries to head it away but almost scores an own goal. She's saved by the post.

[28th minute] Nahomi Kawasumi gets the ball in the box, but the referee calls offsides.

[27th minute] Captain Aya Miyama kicks it it right into the wall. It hits Tobin Heath's arm in the box, but the ref says play on.

[26th minute] Another dangerous run by Japan, and Shinobu Ohno is tackled by Amy LePeilbet. Dangerous set piece here.

[25th minute] Japan plays a dangerous ball over the top, but Rampone is able to clear it. Japan quickly gets the ball back and sends another cross into the box, but it's straight to Hope Solo. No sweat.

[23rd minute] The U.S. defense is playing tough, and Japan is having trouble mounting attacks. The team's lack of a dominant striker is really showing.

[22nd minute] The U.S. comes down the left wing and puts a ball into the middle, but another weak shot is easily blocked.

[18th minute] Yuki Ogimi puts a tremendous header under the crossbar, but Hope Solo makes a left-handed save.

[17th minute] Japan mounts an attack with its first real offensive buildup of the game. Nahoomi Kawasumi gets a shot past Hope Solo, but captain Christine Rapone saves it.

[15th minute] Rapinoe earns the U.S. its first corner kick of the game. It's easily cleared away.

[14th minute] Megan Rapinoe puts a brilliant pass into the box for Abby Wambach, but it has a bit too much pace.

[8th minute] Abby Wambach is also on the far post and almost kicked Lloyd in the head on the goal.

[8th minute] Tobin Heath makes a run down the wing and finds Morgan who dribbles left of goal and serves to the far post, where Lloyd puts it away with a header. USA 1- Japan 0.

[8th minute] Carli Lloyd goal!

[6th minute] Carli Lloyd of the U.S. team steals the ball and tries to push it forward to Alex Morgan, who gets tackled. Ref says no foul.

[4th minute] Alex Morgan of the U.S. team has some crafty footwork after a long ball, but her shot is weak and is easily stopped by keeper Miho Fukumoto.

[3rd minute] Japan has a scare when a ball is crossed into the box, but it's cleared away.

[2nd minute] Teams look nervous in the opening minute. No real string of possession yet.

[1st minute] Kickoff!

[Posted at 2:40 p.m. ET] The teams have taken the field for their respective national anthems. The U.S. is wearing blue, and Japan is wearing red.

[Posted at 1:56 p.m. ET] According to NBC, the starting U.S. squad will consist of Hope Solo, Rachel Buehler, Kelley O'Hara, Christine Rampone (captain), Amy LePeilbet, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Shannon Boxx, Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan.

[Posted at 1:54 p.m. ET] NBC has announced each team's starting XI on its website. Let's start with Japan, which is fielding the same team that beat Brazil last week: Miho Fukumoto, Yukari Kinga, Azusa Iwashimizu, Saki Kumagai, Aya Sameshima, Mizuho Sakaguchi, Aya Miyama (captain), Nahomi Kawasumi, Homare Sawa, Shinobu Ohno and Yuki Ogimi

[Posted at 1:31 p.m. ET] For Team USA, it's payback time. For Japan, it's a chance to do something no women's team has ever done and solidify its standing as the world's best.

Just over a year ago, Nadeshiko Japan trounced the U.S. team 3-1 in penalty kicks to secure its first World Cup title. During a thriller of a game that saw 41 collective shots, Japan scored in the 81st minute to send the game into overtime, where the U.S. and Japan each scored, necessitating penalty kicks.

Today, Hope Solo, Abby Wambach and crew will be looking for redemption at a venue, the Olympics, where they have reigned as queens supreme since they took gold by beating Brazil 2-1 in the 2004 finals in Athens, Greece.

Japan will be looking to squash the hopes of a U.S. three-peat by doing what no other women's team has done (men's teams have done it twice but not in decades): win the Olympics and World Cup back to back. The team's path to the finals has been no breeze.

After finishing second in Group F - on purpose, to hear their coach tell it - the Japanese women shut out a talented Brazil squad before knocking off France 2-1 in the semis.

The Wembley Stadium finale begins at 2:45 p.m. ET, and you can keep up with the action on This Just In's live blog.

soundoff (216 Responses)
  1. cant believe it

    USA handball in penalty area not called!
    sucks.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. talkic for a social good time

    Entertaining comments all around.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Canadian

    Hold you heads in total shame for cheating. Dd ya pay that ref off yet or does she get a medal too. Pitiful. What a disgrace. I love my fellow Americans usually but this is pathetic. Do u really have to cheat this bad to get ahead. Same on u.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. BOOMER

    I agree with you all !!!!!. So now can we get back to beer drinking???

    August 10, 2012 at 2:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Canadian

    I agree Nina. I love my fellow Americans and have many friends and family in the us. But the calls made were terrible. Maybe the us would still get gold who knows. Just seems a lot of ppl feel the same way it wasnt fair game And we Canadians certainly are NOT jealous. I am very proud to be a Canadian.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. tiestoguy1

    The only reason the Americans won Gold is because they paid the Norwegian referee against Canada.. such BS..

    August 10, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Frank

    ... let's not forget... why again do many Americans wear the Canadian flag when they travel abroad? Ah yes, they are better received when others think they have integrity. That's a vast richness that some of you will never experience. When Canadians (including our kids) travel abroad, for instance, others make them feel like they're wearing the gold medal.... every minute of every day. Thank you Canadian athletes, the rest of us are enjoying your sportsmanship all the time! YOU rock!

    August 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Tony

    Greatness? found? / Humility nowhere in sight

    August 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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