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United States has the trophies, Japan the game

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Not to mention the people that never really care for soccer anyway. Now all of a sudden they are interested in the sport and are die hard fans. I'm not saying that every person in the states are fanatical soccer fans either, but at least people no matter what will try to engage in a conversation, but here... If they win, they will talk about it for a year, if they lose, it would be like it never happened.

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Japan to win it for Tohoku!

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"I'm not saying that every person in the states are fanatical soccer fans either,..."

Well, you'd be right by that. Some people who NEVER watch soccer/football in the U.S. will check it out, but the vast majority will have other things to do on a sunday in the summer.

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bass4funk: I agree with you on the whole 'jump on the wagon' thing, but it's not at all new to Japan. There is of course a crop of die-hard Hanshin Tigers fans, but as an example of what we're talking about I've never heard of more fans than when they won the region title a few years back, then the same people hated them when they had a poor start the next year, then loved them again when they started doing well, and now again earlier this week. Suddenly people who had never heard of the Women's World Cup can't stop saying "Norio-Japan" or whatever the buzz-word is for the team.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy people are taking an interest where interest is more than deserved, but I loathe how they ONLY do it when a team is doing well and will just as quickly, for the most part, forget about them tomorrow if they do badly (save for one or two 'golden boys' the media latches on to).

As for this article, it seems pretty one-sided. For the sake of the writer I hope Japan wins. Of course, for the sake of Japan I hope they win, too. Either way, BOTH teams have done a great job and deserve a lot of respect, and I hope the interest in women's soccer doesn't stop Monday morning if Japan loses. I'm not staying up to watch the game, but I'll know soon enough who won by whether people are quiet or not.

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@NetNinja & bass4funk: America is "No.1" in everything, and especially with their past history of world cup wins and their recent wins against Japan (2-0 in both games) the US is favored to win. Americans have tons of pride, Japan is the underdog, so if Japan wins I think they've got every right to celebrate. The both of you are American I presume? ....and you live in Japan, so of course you're gonna hear about it if Japan wins.

Besides, you guys are talkin' like the US has already lost! Where's you're spirit of competition?!?!

PS......bass4funk: Soccer is a thousand times more popular in Japan than in the states so I don't think you're argument holds much ground. There would be waaay more wagon-jumpers in the states if they win than in Japan if Japan won. Besides, whether you like soccer or not doesn't really matter. People like to support their country and the people representing their country (not just in soccer, and not just Japan).

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I just can't miss this match. Both teams deserve to win. But my heart goes to Japan. A victory would bring some joy.

Totally off-topic: Moderators, sorry for using this space (I found no way to contact Mods directly), but why I can't log-in after I log-out? Everytime I try to log-in JT doesn't recognize my password, so I have to reset it again and again. I don't know if this is only me, but I guess it's happening to other members too.

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Girls playing soccer? Seemed like a failure from the outset. But, for some reason these gals go for it. They don't dive or fake cry like the men. They actually play for the honor rather than a sponsorship or club contract. I respect these chicks. Good on them for some exciting soccer & sport. Let's go なでこし日本! Bring on the Evil Empire.

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"Soccer is a thousand times more popular in Japan than in the states..."

Not true at all at the grade school level. Yes, beyond that the interest decreases thru college ( and professional ) but I know parents who are consumed with their boy or girl playing soccer/football on school teams and what they refer to as "traveling teams" ( sometimes driving hours back and forth to matches ). They are almost fanatical, at least to eyes.

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That would be the world's 'beautiful game'. It's not just Brazils.

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@smithinjapan

It's ironic because I had never seen a post from you on women's football until they started doing well in this tournament. Jumping on the bandwagon?

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Tahoochi: "Soccer is a thousand times more popular in Japan than in the states"

An exaggeration of an untruth. I believe it's a lot more popular here than in the US at the professional level for men, but on the school playgrounds I would say it's the opposite, and more professional (with PE teachers or people who know about soccer coaching instead of the Social Studies teacher that got stuck with the short straw). And bandwagon jumpers? NO WAY there are more in the US than here.

rockbuster: "It's ironic because I had never seen a post from you on women's football until they started doing well in this tournament. Jumping on the bandwagon?"

I've never seen any threads on women's soccer (save for Olympics, maybe) until this tournament (probably because Japan is doing well). Can you point me to them? And I'm not sure if you've got the definition of ironic down... 'hypocritical', maybe.

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No question about it, soccer is easily more popular in Japan than in the U.S.

Go to any public grade school and you will see loads of kids in Bayern jerseys and Barca jerseys -- heck, even Tottenham jerseys. In the States? Yeah, I didn't think so.

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Net Ninja>

How many soccer fields do you have? "A thousand times more"?

We have more soccer fields than Japan cause we have more people playing soccer than you do in Japan. As a matter of fact " A thousand or more players in every city compared to Japan

At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) and with over 310 million people... Sure! Doesn't mean s**t in regards to the overall popularity of the sport, though.

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Well, let's hope they don't go the way (into obscurity) of the curling teams. On another note, I am reading this Nadeshiko thing with fear for life. I mentioned it once to my wife and she nearly knocked me out. Aren't modern, young Japanese woman regarding this as an insult ?

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fletcher: "Go to any public grade school and you will see loads of kids in Bayern jerseys and Barca jerseys -- heck, even Tottenham jerseys. In the States? Yeah, I didn't think so."

Hahaha! Yeah, right. Go to any school in the US or Canada and what you'll see is kids playing on a proper pitch -- not some dusty 'sports field' with frames that often have no nets (and are not even close to regulation-sized fields). There ARE some good municipal teams with decent coaches (but again, poor pitches), and that has increased greatly since the 2002 (Men's) WC, but still not even close to in NA. Again, at the men's professional level I would agree that at least until recently there is (was) a LOT more interest in the sport (watching, at any rate), and especially with J-league soccer. Women's? I hadn't even heard of a Japanese women's team outside the Olympics until a few weeks ago.

I don't know who's going to win. For the players, I'm kind of rooting for Japan. It'd be nice for them to get a win.

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For some people like NetNinja, calling United States as 'America', you should not commit this mistake. USA is not equal to America. America is the whole continent comprised the North America, Central America, and South America. Anyway, Go Nadeshiko Japan!!

Greetings from Montreal

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@kochikame

But 'United States' refers to Mexico too (Estados Unidos de Mexico).. I reckon we should go back to 'New England', with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in charge.

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This reads like the author knows Japan is going to lose.

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To Lucabrasi: Whatever, I just don't like when people call 'America', for U.S.A. Are you from what country? I'm brazilian, living iin Canada.

Viva Nadeshiko Japan!! Greetings from Montreal

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@kochi

The good ol' U of K, my friend.

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Ok ok, I admit it was an exaggeration. Soccer is not a thousand times more popular in Japan than in the US.

NetNinja, I have spent 5 years in the US and yes, there's plenty of soccer at the amateur level. But let's face it, as smithinjapan says, it's not at the professional level, and the popularity of pro level soccer in the US as a spectator sport is far more minimal than it is in Japan. When I said that soccer is much more popular in Japan, I obviously meant it at the pro level (ie. as a spectator sport) and not at the little Johnny or Sally and their soccer mom level. My apologies for not being clear enough there, but I thought that was a given, since you were talking about all those people at work talking about the game after and if Japan wins.

smithinjapan: As for wagon jumpers, I don't know how you can calculate that sort of thing as to who has more, and I suspect it's a difficult point to argue because of the size and population density differences between the US and Japan. But how do you explain the popularity increase of women's soccer in the US after Brandi Chastain took her shirt off in celebration at the '99 world cup? How do you explain the major boom in the PGA viewer ratings and golf in general as a sport after Tiger Woods came to the scene?

I guess my point is that it's hard to argue "who has more wagon jumpers", but I'm pretty sure every country will have people who support their own country's team in a world cup final even though they are not great fans of that sport, and it will always seem extreme whilst you are in Japan if you are not Japanese, especially if you are not supporting team Japan.

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Tahoochi

I think what it boils down to is when we compare the popularity of soccer in Japan and the US is it as a participatory sport or a spectator sport? As a participatory sport I think the US wins handsdown. As a spectator sport the Japan has it.

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Don't know about the participatory part since there are as many children soccer teams as there are baseball teams and at the high school level I am really lost on how many US high schools have male soccer team where as in Japan again there are as many male high school soccer teams as there are baseball teams. As for female I have no clue since I have not heard of either US or Japanese high schools competing in female soccer competitions.

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According to USSN, Major League Soccer Attendance in the U.S. averages 17,000 per game, which would put it just below Brazil in terms of attendance, or 12th overall, Japan being 10th with an average of 19,270 overall. In terms of participation and according to FIFA, the U.S. has over 18 million official players, the greatest number of any nation. While there are of course, plenty of unofficial players in all countries, I'd still bet that the U.S. beats Japan in terms of participation. I know plenty of young Japanese men who play soccer or played it in school but far, far fewer women. That can partly be chalked up to Japan having nothing like Title IX, which became a U.S. federal law in 1972 and mandated gender equality in sports. I'm not saying sports are completely gender equal in the U.S. but they are far more so than here in Japan where the number of sports for girls and boys is often very unequal and where boys often dominate the playing fields and gyms while girls are relegated to the sidelines. From what I was able to find, over 6 million girls play soccer in the U.S. I couldn't find any definitive figures on the number of girls who play in Japan. Additionally, there are a lot of adult soccer leagues in the U.S. where both men and women play, which again, is less common in Japan.

At the end of the day, the team that deserves to win isn't and shouldn't be determined by the number of people in the country who watch, but the team that plays the best.

And before anyone gets on my case for using the word soccer instead of football, footie, the beautiful game, etc., and tries to use that of evidence of Americans not really knowing or appreciating the game, calm down! Neither do I call it jogo de futebol, match de football, meczu piłki nożnej or Fußballspiel. I call it what it's called in the country of my origin, the name that Brits originally came up with anyway.

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JapanToday: As a side note completely unrelated to the Women's World Cup, I'm not loving the way your new site shows up on my iPhone. I've got to constantly move a story from side to side in order to read a full line. That's not the case with other sites I go to so I'm assuming I'm not doing anything incorrect. Is that something that's going to be fixed while you're performing upgrades?

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This game will definitely be a match of contrasting styles. Both styles have proven to win games and thus it should be a good one. Don't know how this forum turned into a topic of bandwagoners, since it is obvious that they occur everywhere and not just in Japan. Yet, I do understand that people tend to only see from where they are living at the moment and thus think it only occurs there. It happens in every sport and with every countries' fans. Recently, there were a lot of bandwagoners in Vancouver when their Canucks ended up going to the Stanley Cup Finals in ice hockey. It was appalling that many of them became violent, even though they never followed their team so passionately before they were so strong. To use a loss an excuse just to vent frustrations in a violent way is not cool. Even though there may be some bandwagoners here in Japan, at least they don't turn violent, as in so many other parts of the world, when it comes to sports.

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Thanks for your input guys.... especially ambrosia. And I agree with all of you, but I just want to say that my original statement (soccer is more popular in Japan) was definitely said with soccer as a spectator sport in mind.

I've no doubt the US has more soccer players.... but my comment was based on bass4funk's comment in which he complained about Japanese people who are not usually soccer fanatics who become soccer fanatics when team Japan wins. My response was: That's because there are more people who watch soccer in Japan.

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American women Strong and Wise Japan hopefully loose

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@miyazawa3: I hope Japan is loose for the game as well... can't go in too wound up. Loose, but focused. On the other hand, I hope the US will lose ; )

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Now all of a sudden they are interested in the sport and are die hard fans.

There will always suddenly be some fans who suddenly jump on a winning team, in any sport, anywhere. It's the same as there will always be posters on sites like these who suddenly jump on the "bandwagon" to make comments that there are "bandwagon" fans. Fact is, there has always been a fan base for soccer in Japan. It's been growing ever since the Japanese men qualified for the World Cup in 1998. As for the women, like in every country I know of, they get less exposure and fans than the men. However, that's been changing. As we can now see, the many young girls who joined youth leagues 10 or more years ago, are now featured in this World Cup and have shown their potential. The women's game is expanding worldwide and skill levels have gone up as more young women take up the sport. They have even been seriously considering expanding the World Cup field to 24 teams. You may call that bandwagoning, but to me, that's just interest in the sport growing in a positive way.

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Let's just hope the emotion and pressure of winning the cup for those 25,000-odd victims up in Tohoku doesnt weigh too heavily on the girls shoulders. My tip - Japan 5 - USA 3, in a cracking, end-to-end masterclass of soccer.

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This may in fact be the one soccer match worth watching.

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My comment got removed and I did not even get a notification. Weird.

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Just finished a surfing session, and got my lunch prepared for the big match. Gefilte fish, creamed herring, and a kasha kinish. This is going ot be a good game, but who to root for is troublesome.

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I can't wait for the game to start. Go Nedeshiko Japan !!!!!! Am I on the bandwagon ? Yes, and I'm proud :)

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Congratulations Japan!!!!!!!!! I love you!!!

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Yes, congratulations Japan! By the way, why is the USA team only white girls? This team looks more like a team from Finland not the real USA, not even 1 black girl on this team? Maybe they should start playing soccer out side of the suburbs and also play in the cities etc...of the so called melting pot, the USA.

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