The United States are in Sunday's World Cup final. A 2-0 win over Germany booked their spot in the ultimate match and, in all likelihood, they will be favored in the contest. The question now is who they will play.
Japan and England are set to square off in the second semifinal of the tournament on Wednesday, with the winner moving on to a clash against the U.S. for the World Cup. Both teams have made it through five matches to this point and are good teams, but who would the U.S. rather play in the final?
The appeal of playing Japan is huge. Mainly, it would present the U.S. with an opportunity to avenge their stoppage time loss in the final four years ago. Ever since, the Americans have had to wonder how they let that match get away from them and what could have been. While this year has been about the quest for three stars, they could be looking for four if just a little bit went differently in 2011. This is about revenge.
Japan are also making their claim to being the best team in the world. They may have won the World Cup last time around, but that was, to a degree, a blip on the radar. The Japanese had no record of success, at least not at that level, and their loss in the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal Game was looked at by some as proof that as good as they have gotten, Japan was still a step below the likes of the U.S. and Germany. A second consecutive World Cup win would blast those beliefs away and put them even with the Americans and Germans, if not ahead of them, in the world pecking order.
Obviously, the U.S. don't want that. They want to beat Germany and Japan back-to-back, lift the World Cup trophy and leave no doubt that they are the best team in the world. If the U.S. are looking for the biggest feather in their cap, Japan is who they want. Toss in the revenge and it's a no brainer.
But what about England? Is there any reason for the U.S. to want to play the Lionesses in the final?
There's this -- England are way worse than Japan.
Playing England makes the U.S.' chances of winning the World Cup much, much higher. And guess what? When you're holding that World Cup trophy and playing with that extra star on your chest, no one gives a crap who you beat to get there or revenge or anything of that sort. You are the best, and you don't question the best.
So ya, the U.S. wants to play England in the final.