Women's game comes of age at World Cup in Germany

By Raf Casert

Associated Press

Published: Monday, July 18 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Japan's Aya Miyama, center, is celebrated by teammates after she scored her side's first goal during the final match between Japan and the United States at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, July 17, 2011.

Michael Probst, Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany — The Women's World Cup came to a bastion of the men's game — and, for three weeks, the whole of Germany responded. One of the most knowledgeable crowds in the world lapped it up, game after game with full stadiums and soaring television ratings.

Then came Sunday's final to bring the party to a fitting and emotional climax.

Japan became the first Asian nation to win the title, coming from behind twice with quick, nimble passing moves to force a 2-2 draw after extra time and then triumphing in a penalty shootout.

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