Previewing the WWC title match

July, 16, 2011

The Women's World Cup final Sunday features the United States trying to win its third title, while Japan is looking to become the first Asian team to win the tournament. The winner of this match will be the first champion to finish as group runner-up, as well as the first to lose a match and win the Women's World Cup. Here's a look at five things to watch for Sunday (ESPN &, 2 p.m. ET).

Here are some statistical nuggets ahead of the title match:

•  The United States has never lost to Japan, posting a 22-0-3 record with a 77-13 goals scored advantage. The United States has won nine straight matches against Japan, including three in 2011. Japan has scored more than one goal twice in 25 matches and has been shut out 14 times. The 25 matches without a defeat are the most by the United States against a single opponent.

•  The United States' Abby Wambach has scored three goals at this year's tournament, bringing her career total to 12 and tying her with Michelle Akers for the most goals by an American in Women's World Cup history. She is also two goals shy of tying Brazil's Marta and Germany's Birgit Prinz for most goals scored in Women's World Cup history.

•  Wambach has scored in three straight matches at this year's tournament, the second time in her career she has scored in three straight matches at a single Women's World Cup. Norway's Hege Riise is the only other player to score in three straight matches in a single tournament twice (four in 1995; three in 1999). Michelle Akers is the only other American to achieve the feat once in a Women's World Cup, scoring in three straight matches in 1991.

•  Japan's captain, Homare Sawa, is playing in her fifth Women's World Cup and is one of only four players to appear in five Women's World Cups. She also set a tournament record this year for the oldest player to record a hat trick (32 years, 298 days) when Japan beat Mexico 4-0 in Japan's second group-stage match.

•  Keep an eye on midfielder Aya Miyama, Japan's main creator. She has scored directly from a free kick at this tournament and also set up two goals for Sawa from set pieces, one from a corner kick and one from a free kick. Miyama has completed 31 passes into the penalty box, the most in this tournament as of the semifinals. No one else on Japan's team has more than six, while Lauren Cheney leads the United States with 18.



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