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Japan Beats U.S. in Women’s World Cup

Japan's goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori celebrates saving a penalty during the FIFA Women's Football World Cup final match Japan vs USA on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Those who think it's ridiculous that soccer ends its matches in penalty kicks rather than more overtime — and we are not one of them; for crying out loud, do you want these poor people to run around for days? You know they limit substitutions, right? — can take tiny solace in the United States' Women's World Cup final loss to Japan in penalties: Those aren't real, after all. The U.S. missed its first three penalty kicks, which never happens, and made it far too easy for Japan and far too hard on goalkeeper Hope Solo. The Yanks — watching soccer always makes us want to use the word "Yanks" — had leads of 1–0 and 2–1, but the resilient underdog Japanese battled back both times. It was sad for the U.S. to lose, but it was a far more exciting match than the 1999 Women's World Cup victory, the last championship for the U.S. and the reason "Brandi Chastain" was trending on Twitter throughout the match. Also trending on Twitter: "Japs" and "Pearl Harbor." Maybe we're not ready for soccer in the U.S. yet. (Because Europeans would never be morally shaky about soccer, nope.) Anyway, it was a terrific game, a fun way to spend a Sunday, and something looking to forward to again in four years. We hope the Obamas had fun.

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Photo: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images