The Women's World Cup Final is just hours away as the USA vs. Japan matchup kicks off this afternoon.
Game Time: 2:45 PM Eastern (8:45 PM local time)
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Projected starting lineup: The United States seem likely to return to the lineup used in their quarterfinal victory over Brazil as Rachel Buehler will reclaim her starting job from Becky Sauerbrunn after missing the semifinal win over France due to a (phony) red card suspension. Buehler will rejoin Ali Krieger, Christie Rampone, and Amy Le Peilbet in defense. The midfield will once again feature Shannon Boxx and Amy Rodriguez on the wings (although Rodriguez hasn't been much of a factor in this World Cup and could be a candidate for replacement), with Carli Lloyd and Lauren Cheney in the middle. Heather O'Reilly and Abby Wambach will be the lead attackers, and to answer the question that nobody is asking, yes Hope Solo will start in goal.
Prediction: The USWNT has never lost to Japan, with a 22-0-3 all-time record, outscoring them 77-13. The U.S. is also undefeated (2-0) in World Cup Finals. So its very possible that this match won't be close. But this is also the most difficult Japanese team that the Americans have ever faced. They've already outlasted Germany in extra time, and beat Sweden, the only team to have a win over the U.S. in this World Cup. But I expect the USA to pull away late after an evenly played first half. Look for Pia Sundhage's substitutions (Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan) to play an important part in a victory once again, and the Americans to capture the 2011 Women's World Cup with a 2-0 win.
If you're looking for a place to chat about the match with other local fans, you've found it. This is your place for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.