David Hirshey writes: Disney would never have green-lighted this script. Twenty-first century audiences, raised on a steady diet of comic book fare, are too worldly, too jaded to buy into a storyline so egregiously Hollywood. After all, this was a tale of nevers. Never before had Japan beaten the U.S. in 25 attempts; never before had the U.S. failed to win a World Cup match in which it scored first; and never before had the Americans failed to clear the last hurdle in the Women's World Cup once they reached it.
The final score line will read Japan 2 (3) U.S. 2 (1), but in one of those gloriously rare moments in sports, it didn't matter which team won and which one lost.
You can talk all you want about Alex Morgan's cool, predatory strike following Megan Rapinoe's defense-shredding pass, Aya Miyama's fortuitous but well taken equalizer, Morgan's laser cross to the most lethal forehead in sports, Abby Wambach, Homare Sawa's seeing-eye 117th minute Lazarus job executed with the kind of sublime skill normally reserved for YouTube videos. You can argue about substitution patterns, penalty taking decisions, Hope Solo's left knee and the vagaries of fortune.
But none of that matters. What we should remember today is how uplifting a great athletic event can be. Sunday's final was a fitting capstone to the best, most competitive Women's World Cup ever played.