DAY 23: JAPAN VS USA, 2011
This match always comes to mind when I think of a game that had real meaning. Japan was still reeling after the earthquake in March of 2011 when 25,000 people died. It’s national team was competing in the World Cup that summer and made it to the final. In the previous 25 meetings with other finalists, the USA, they had drawn 3 and lost 22. This time they twice fought back to finish the 90 at 2-2. After extra time they won the shoot out and for a day or two the front pages in Japan weren’t dominated by news of thousands dead and Nuclear overspill from the Fukushima reactor. It’s one of those special cases where football replaced sorrow with smiles for a day at least. Also it made Japan the first Asian country to win a FIFA World Cup Final.