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Good job ladies. We’re all proud of you regardless!

Nobody likes to lose. It makes your cereal taste soggy and your bed feel lumpy. Depending on the circumstances and what’s at stake, losing can remain in your system like a parasite. There is no known cure, other than to go out and win the next time around.

But I have to issue the U.S. women’s soccer team a special waiver, to be used just this once. It’s not because losing is acceptable. It’s just that, considering everything, it’s not as stomach-churning as it could have been.

The U.S. women deserve a few gentle noogies today for squandering a raft of opportunities in their World Cup final Sunday against Japan. In another sporting context, you might be tempted to give them even more of a scolding. In the first half alone, they probably could have been ahead, 5-0, or so, if shots had gone a foot or two this way or that.

They had leads of 1-0, and 2-1 in this 2011 final, and each time allowed a determined team of Japanese women to tie the game. After extra time, it came down to penalty kicks, like it did in 1999. There likely were lots of sports bras on the field Sunday in Frankfurt, but none were bared for the U.S. in a moment of sports exultation and marketing bliss.

The U.S. women failed to come through. They lost.

Here are the three provisos from the aforementioned waiver that apply:

They played hard and they played well; they just didn’t capitalize on several chances, and they couldn’t fend off Japan.

They lost to Japan, a nation reeling from the devastation of an earthquake, tsunami and a nuclear disaster. The crushing disappointment that ordinarily accompanies such a defeat is diluted somewhat by the satisfaction that Americans — and the rest of the world, for that matter — feel toward Japan’s spirit-lifting triumph.

And, it was an exciting game full of plot twists that kept onlookers riveted.

It was definitely an exciting game and although we didn’t get a win, the level of competition and spirit seemed to invigorate American’s interest in the sport.

Are you more interested in soccer after this years men’s and women’s world cup??



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