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. johannes

    If they win it will be a tainted result

    August 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob Allward

    I guess as long as the U.S. has the ref on the payroll – as they did against Canada – it should be no problem!

    August 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. steve

    Hopefully they have the same ref as in the game with Canada.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • canadian chico

      true.....what goes around comes around

      August 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mona

    This has been one of the dirtiest tournaments. Abby Wambach got suckered punched in the eye by a Columbian player, another American got stomped on by a Canadian. Hopefully this game will be cleaner. Go USA!

    August 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • johannes

      The US team has had it's fair share of dirty play.The use of spikes up is rampant in that team.

      August 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris Edwards

    To be fair here Win or Lose they don't deserve to be there. Not saying Team Canada would have won the game without the bad calls from the ref, but with a tainted result from a Ref it puts the entire game in question. Something needs to be done after this to have a better process. I'm still cheering for USA, but it's hard to be closed minded and think they deserve it fairly, and not because of team USA, but because of a single Referee. It's not fair to usa, but it defiantly wasn't fair for Canada either. For what it's worth I guess.....GO USA?

    August 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philly25

      You are just going to forget the missed stomping call on the USA players head? Makes sense... keep following the pack and don't watch the games.

      August 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • toddrf

      Amazing how people want to fixate on one call. How about the times that US players were pulled down in the penalty area? Each of those should have resulted in a PK for the US. But no, it's the US's fault because the Canadian keeper can't follow the referees' instructions, as she had apparently been warned many times throughout the tournament.

      August 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Steve

    Yea and the ref also missed an intentionally head stomp!....wait except that went in favor of Canada. Refs make mistakes and questionable calls all the time – it doesn't taint the result or their accomplishment.

    Beyond that it was actually a legal call. The United States made the ref aware of how long the keeper was taking to get rid of the ball repeatedly throughout the match, the goal keeper was warned, a legal call was made. Unusually? Absolutely – but I'll credit the US with smart gamesmanship before blaming the ref.

    Also, did I mention Tancredi stepped on Lloyd's head??!?! I love it how the legal call made makes people more upset than the "highly illegal" call not made.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • johannes

      And she also missed an intentional hand ball by the US in the box.A sure penalty not called.It was a she by the way.

      August 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. adrifter

    I hope someone times how long the goaltenders hold on to the ball. That would be interesting. I'm betting there won't be any penalties for that no matter how long, like in all other games. Oh wait....

    August 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cry me a rive.

    It's funny to see the Canadians on here crying about losing to team USA. Here comes the wahmbulance.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • johannes

      Does American sport arrogance have a limit?

      August 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • MaggieZee

      I guess you're a "real good" American sportsfan – only when you're winning!!! If the shoe were on the other foot, the Yanks would be screaming blue murder and something would be done.... the privilege of the Americans in the finals was what it was all about, otherwise no american television show would broadcast.... but I think you knew all this didn't you???

      August 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Philly25

    I am sorry did no one else see the Canadian player stomp her cleat in to the face of the USA player? No? thought so...

    August 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sandy

    If they finished second in their pool on purpose then they lost on purpose and should be ejected from the Games. Manipulating the draw by less than your best effort taints any success you may have. To be a true champion, do your best in all games – take on and beat whoever is thrown in your path, when they are thrown there, and then taste true sweet victory. And unbelievable that the article doesn't even mention the team's very near loss to Canada in the lead up to this game – or was that part of the plan too coach. Looking for redemption? Too late if you lost on purpose.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rational1a

    Yeah, we get it, everyone supporting Canada still wants to cry.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rational1a

    I'd be mad to but there were called that went both ways – doesn't mean the ref was bad or biased, just human. Yes, I saw the handball by the US in the box that should have been a PK. I also saw elbows and feet to the head and Tancredit (when she wasn't playing great) playing like a thug and having at least 5 yellow card violations. So Canada may have been playing with only 10 for quite some time. Be mad but get over it. No one but a few feel that it is tainted. Oh, how about sportsmanship – how was that displayed by the Canadian coach after the game?

    August 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Floyd from Ilinois

    My son – three-sport athlete in high school, collegiate soccer player – has long been loud and certain that 'referees don't win or lose games'.

    When he started blathering about the alleged favoritism in the USA-Canada match, I hugely enjoyed repeating his own long-held convictions back at him.

    FIFA is investigating the Canadian team – they are not investigating the Americans or the officials. End of story.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Steve B

    NBC got the game it wanted. It took "buying off the ref". But hey the Olympics is politics, NBC is Politics. Sport takes a sad back seat.

    The Canada USA game had a very clear winner on the field and it was not who is represented in the final.

    What a joke.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grey Cup

      Steve B could not agree more. Millions would have been lost by NBC had The American's not been in that game. An investigation needs to be done to see if Christian Pedersen took any money to see of it that The USA got in the game

      August 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bobcat (in a hat)©

    ... Larry, a local football star, is jogging down the street when he sees a building on fire. A lady is standing on a third story ledge holding her pet cat in her arms.
    "Hey, lady," yells Larry, "Throw me the cat."
    "No," she cries, "It's too far."
    "I play football, I can catch him."
    The smoke is pouring from the windows, and finally, the woman waves to Larry, kisses her cat goodbye, and tosses it down to the street.
    Larry keeps his eye on the cat as it comes hurtling down toward him.
    The feline bounces off an awning and Larry runs into the street to
    catch it. He jumps six feet into the air and makes a spectacular one
    handed catch. The crowd that has gathered to watch the fire breaks
    into cheers.

    Larry does a little dance, lifts the cat above his head, wiggles his knees back and forth, then spikes the cat into the pavement.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
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