FRANKFURT, Germany — Japan has won the Women’s World Cup, stunning the U.S. 3-1 in a penalty shootout Sunday night after coming from behind twice in a 2-2 tie.
Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath all missed penalties for the Americans, who squandered dozens of chances throughout the game and blew a lead just six minutes from winning their third World Cup title.
The Americans had taken the lead in the 104th minute off a header by Abby Wambach. Alex Morgan, who scored the first American goal, came up with a blocked cross and sent it to Wambach, who was camped in front of the goal on the 6-yard line. Standing a head taller — and then some — from defenders on either side of her, she needed only to nod the ball into the net.
But Sawa flicked in corner kick — earned after 36-year-old captain Christie Rampone raced to clear Yukari Kinga’s chip over Hope Solo off the line.
Japan is the first Asian nation to win the World Cup.