The image to the left is iconic.
How could you not watch Sunday’s World Cup and immediately think of this moment? A women’s World Cup final ending in a shootout with the USofA and an Asian team involved?
Brandi Chastain’s shootout goal in 1999 – and her resulting celebration – captured an audience.
Twelve years later, Abby Wambach’sforehead was what excited Americans following the home team, showing that the attention of a sports bra could then transform into actual sport. That’s evolution, people.
Sure, it’s sad for Americans that the US didn’t beat Japan on Sunday to win the World Cup, but it’s part of sports. No one team can win all the time.
But, let’s remember, for a moment, that 1999 World Cup.
Instead of focusing on the US, think about Japan. In 1999 Japan went 0-2-1 and didn’t qualify past the first round. With all that has happened to the Japanese lately, a World Cup unifying a nation might be easier for us to accept.
Everybody likes the underdog to win. You can’t get more underdog than that.
Plus, let’s not forget that without Briana Scurry cheating in 1999 we might never have had Chastain’s moment, forcing Americans to think that somehow we are deserving of another title.
So, maybe instead of thinking of the US as a potential women’s World Cup superpower – two titles in 12 years – we could have thought of them as the Cubs. Sometimes making it to the finale, but more than often breaking our hearts.
At the same time, how many people are truly heartbroken about this loss? Sure, people cared because as a nation we are bandwagon fans, but really, how many players can you name on the US team? Let us not forget what we were really rooting for: a chance to be bigger, more arrogant Americans, than we already are.