Was there a picture after the game of President Obama screaming and throwing furniture around while his wife and children looked on horrified?
No? That was just in my house? Okay.
Looking at the US after the game really gave me an insight on how China felt twelve years ago. I thought Hope Solo was going to kill someone, and then we saw her getting consoled by fans - presumably relatives, but if not, that's not surprising.
Not the most exciting game in the tournament - the Brazil game still has that title - but definitely the most emotional. What an unbelievable game.
Anyone who doubts parity has arrived in women's soccer may ponder that Japan beat the United States that beat France that beat England that beat Japan.
That's made women's soccer vastly more exciting. The appeal of the Golden Generation, really, was Mia, Brandi, Michelle and the rest strolling by teams whose nations had only recently legalized women appearing out of doors without two male guardians. There were pretty much only five teams in the women's international game - Sweden, Norway, China, the US, and Zeppo. Germany and Brazil came along, but that was largely to replace Norway and China. You had some fantastic games - Germany-Sweden in 2003 was a joy to watch - but you had to sit through some squash matches to get there.
That's still kind of true for group games - thank you, North Korea, for turning your nation's soul-crushing poverty and slavery into comic relief for the rest of us - but from the quarterfinals onward, only Sweden-Australia was what you would call a mismatch. Any of seven teams right now could call themselves world champions, given a couple of breaks. That's not only unprecedented in the women's game, it's pretty damn rare in the men's World Cup these days.
Since the US is one of those teams who old-school haves who now have to split the pie, it's tempting to think they're a worse team today.
Okay, they are. But not that much worse.
The United States played a better game as a team than they had...well, for the first eighty minutes. Rampone kept Sawa out of the game...for the first 115 minutes. And amazingly, Boxx helped control the midfield throughout the whole game. The US even passed well. The only thing Carli Lloyd did wrong was shoot. And shoot. And shoot. And take a penalty.
This is one of my hobby-horses, but quick, who had more shots on goal? If you said Japan, 6-5, then you too looked at the stats on fifa.com. Shots on goal is my favorite stat - they almost never lie. Unless the other team hits the crossbar or the post about a million times, but how often does that happen?
But didn't the US have all those chances? Sure. 8-4 in corner kicks for the US, a huge advantage in shots, and far less possession than Japan is used to. The gameplan worked, until the final third, and until the 80th minute.
Once upon a time, the United States would not have needed over an hour to score on Japan, especially given all the chances they blew in the first half. But would a 4-0 or 5-0 blowout World Cup win really have meant that much to the program?
Okay, yes, it would have. But the United States isn't going away anytime soon. The talent pool is simply too deep, the sport is now too much a part of women's American sporting tradition, for the United States to do anything less than have the occasional off-tournament. If there get to be eight or eleven nations with fully professional women's leagues, and WPS disappears and the W-League and WPSL stay at their current level, then maybe, in a generation or so, the United States stops being a contender. Them's a lot of ifs. It's much more likely that the current USWNT is the floor of our potential, not the ceiling. I have a VERY good feeling about this team in 2015, even though the competition will, if anything, be even more difficult. And hey, we OWN the Olympics.
Japan is, or maybe was, in a more precarious position, due to being a smaller nation. No, not in height - in any case, the Japan women's national team finally and thoroughly refuted Randy Newman once and for all.
(For our younger readers, Randy Newman used to be a songwriter, before Disney sucked out his soul and replaced it with meringue.)
The Steel Roses died and went to hell after losing a tournament much like this one, utterly failing to replace Sun Wen. It's easy to picture a scenario where Japan does not come up with someone to fill Homare Sawa's shoes, and Japan falls back into the ranks of the ordinary.
Except, Japan won, altering the course of their program in unfathomable ways. The program's newfound prestige will get more young Japanese women involved in the sport, and the women's national team program will gain increased sponsorship. More players and more money can only help, but they will never have as much of either as the United States.
They will also have to deal with the post-euphoria fad letdown. The United States dealt with it by pretending it wasn't going to ever happen, which helped make WUSA what it is today. One assumes Japan won't make the same mistake - Japan didn't get where they are by being dumber than Americans, that's for damn sure.
(What? I can say that. I'm not running for Congress.)
The smartest thing Japan could do right now is bid to host the 2019 Cup. The risk is that they will trot out a substandard disappointment, the way China did in 2007. But Japan won't have the Olympics upstaging the tournament, nor a corrupt, totalitarian Communist government diverting resources away from the soccer program. (Unless Japan goes Commie between now and '19, I suppose. What? They could. If they can win a Women's World Cup, they can install a worker's paradise. Did I mention I wasn't running for Congress?)
Now, let's all wave goodbye to all the fans who were on board the past couple of weeks - we'll see you at your local WPS game! HA HA HA but seriously, almost all of those people will be back for the Olympics next year.
Although I'm even optimistic for WPS. Picture the slogans. "Marta can't hear you boo if you stay at home!" "Free T-shirt if you are hit by an errant Carli Lloyd shot!" (There probably aren't enough T-shirts for that promotion, though.)