The Japanese women's soccer team won the World Cup after defeating the United States on penalty kicks Sunday night, rallying from a pair of one-goal deficits to capture its first-ever world title.
The Japanese had been dubbed sentimental favorites, their strong play and surprising run having buoyed their countrymen back home still trying to recover from a massive earthquake this spring that triggered a devastating tsunami and a nuclear crisis.
Japan shocked host Germany by a 1-0 score in the quarterfinals, then defeated a potent Sweden team 3-1 to advance to the finals.
The World Cup win marks the first time the Japanese national women's team has beaten the U.S. The teams have met 25 previous times.