I’ve only ever openly cried once for the sake of a sports game. And it happened to be for a World Cup. This is that story.
The World Cup started in Russia this week. And I was reminded of a very special personal moment in World Cup history. It was the moment that was everything that was good about sport. And back in 2011, I wrote about it for Women24.
2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup
By: Anton Marshall – 18 July 2011
Japan took the Cup in a display of mental discipline and courage in the face of all odds. When the FIFA World Cup came to SA last year, we were very taken with the “size” of the event, and the big sell on how many people were watching it, how the world’s eyes were upon us, and all that guff.
By comparison, the Women’s World Cup has traditionally been relatively low-key. It was hardly advertised by our local sportscasters, though there was decent coverage to be found if you looked for it. When I eventually discovered that it was on, I did switch on whenever I could.
And this Women’s World Cup has made a convert out of me. The tournament was exciting, passionate and full of amazing, committed football. Yes. More so than the often stunted, overdramatic men’s version was in 2010.
And then to see it not won by one of the traditional powerhouses – Germany or the USA – was a total bonus. By the time Germany took a dive in the quarter-final at the hands of the resilient Japanese team, I was completely hooked.
By the time Japan lifted the trophy last night after a massive onslaught by the USA, I was bawling like a little baby again, jumping up and down in the living room with my fists in the air. It is a truly amazing thing to have witnessed such a display of mental discipline and – should I say courage – in the face of all odds.
Given everything that happened in Japan this year*, it was one of those amazing things to witness, and I promise you there was not a dry eye in my house!
Congratulations JAPAN, 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions! And congrats to all the teams who provided a fantastic advert for the Women’s game.
* Following a major earthquake, a 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, causing a nuclear accident on 11 March 2011. All three cores largely melted in the first three days. – http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident.aspx