[OLYMPIC SPOTLIGHT] Japan's women's national team won't return home with gold, but they will return home in business class. New Japan Football Association president Kuniya Daini confirmed the women -- relegated to economy class while the Japanese men's national team flew in business class en route from Tokyo to Paris -- would be upgraded to business class on their return flight.
"They won a medal, so they will go back business class," said Daini. "We have got the seats booked."
Interest was high in the rematch of the 2011 Women's World Cup final between the USA and Japan. Fans packed Tokyo bars until 6 a.m. to watch the Wembley gold-medal game won by the Americans, 2-1.
Japan had numerous opportunities after it fell behind, first 1-0, then 2-0.
Early Friday editions of Japanese newspapers praised the play of Japan: "Stand tall, silver medalists!" (Nikkan Sports) and "Fierce Fight" (Sankei Sports).
"The gold medal ended up just out of reach," said Japan star Homare Sawa, "but it was great to be playing with fantastic teammates on the biggest stage of all against great opponents."
Sawa and captain Aya Miyama have get back to Japan.
They will be ambassadors at the Under-20 Women's World Cup that begins Aug. 19 in Japan.
"Hopefully," added Sawa, "the under-20s can take a bit inspiration, however small, from what we have done and try and win world and Olympic titles in the future."