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The Fighting Spirit

2011 July 18
by Stanley Quan

Yesterday, Japan won the Women’s World Cup in amazing fashion, coming back from behind twice and winning on penalty kicks. They beat the American squad that I raved so much about last week.

The Japanese displayed their own brand of “never quit” attitude. It was tough not to root for them as the spirited underdog.

The entire match was riveting, with the US squandering chance after chance in the first half, only to score in the second half and overtime, before Japan would equalize with the Americans minutes from victory both times. Japan didn’t have many chances, but when they did, they made the most of them.

Watching the game, you could almost sense that Japan would win. You could see their fighting spirit, their will to win. After all, the players were doing it for their friends and family back home, and for a recovering nation.

Photo credit: Franck Robichon/EPA/Lanov

Just several months ago, on March 11, Japan suffered a devastating earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 23,000 dead. The nation needed a team to get behind.

As Japan made its way through the tournament, it gained fans all around the world.¬†After each game, the team held out a banner saying, “To our Friends Around the World – Thank You for Your Support.”

The World Cup win capped a storybook ending.

Sometimes, that’s the amazing thing about sports. It can bring a nation together at the worst of times.

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