The women's soccer final in the London 2012 Olympics takes place Thursday with USA and Japan set to take part in an epic battle for the gold medal. The football match kicks off at 2.45 p.m. ET and can be watched online through live stream on NBC Olympics (details below).
- (Photo: Twitter/Sydney FC Tweets)
Japan could have the mental edge going into today's final, having already defeated Team USA in last year's World Cup final when the game went down to penalty kicks. That result will have scarred some of the U.S. players who will have to try and put the past behind them and focus on trying to defeat their greatest rivals in women's soccer.
Team USA is taking part in its fifth consecutive Olympic soccer final and will see the match as an opportunity to gain revenge against Japan for last year's World Cup loss.
The U.S. managed to scrape through an extremely difficult semi final tie against great rivals Canada on Monday. That match went to extra time and saw the USA finally emerge as winners 4-3 with the winning goal scored deep into the final minute of extra time. Alex Morgan was the player who rose up for the winning header with just seconds until penalty kicks were due to be played out.
Fans will be hoping that the marathon game against Canada will not have tired out the legs of the American players too much, and Japan will prove the toughest match yet for the United States.
U.S. coach Pia Sundhage has opted to start the game with Shannon Boxx over Lauren Cheney in the midfield. Boxx injured her hamstring in the Olympic opener against France and hasn't seen action since, with Lloyd coming off the bench to fill in. However, fellow central midfielder Cheney did not have a good game against Canada, and Sundhage seems to prefer to get the physical Boxx into the starting lineup.
It appears she fit but it might take her some of the early minutes of the game to knock off some rust in her game after two weeks out. Many will see it as a gamble, but given Cheney's bad form of late it could prove to be a smart move by Sundhage.
Team USA starting line-up:
GK: Hope Solo
D (left to right): Kelley O'Hara, Rachel Buehler, Christie Rampone (captain), Amy LePeilbet
MF: Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Shannon Boxx, Tobin Heath
F: Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan.
D: Kinga, Kumagai, Iwashimizu, Sameshima
MF: Miyama, Sakaguchi, Sawa, Kawasumi
F: Ohno, Ogimi
The USA vs. Japan in the final of the women's soccer of the London 2012 Olympic tournament kicks off at 2.45 p.m. ET and all the football action can be watched online through live stream by clicking HERE.