It was the most gut-wrenching, most emotional and most dramatic final in the history of the Women's World Cup.
It produced the most surprising, most gloriously happy and most deserving world champion women's soccer has yet seen.
For Japan, this was more than a soccer game. It was an opportunity to prove on a global stage that a country devastated four months ago by a killer earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe still possessed the heart and soul of a fierce competitor.
...it also allowed a beaten-down nation to declare to the world that it was no longer just a victim.
"They're playing for something bigger and better than the game," the American goalkeeper said in a conference call prior to the match. "When you are playing with so much heart, that's hard to play against."