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Japan earns berth in final

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 01:50 PM
FRANKFURT, Germany -

Captain Homare Sawa redeemed herself from a huge error by scoring the go-ahead goal in Wednesday's 3-1 victory against Sweden, which put Japan in the World Cup final on Sunday against the U.S.

On top of that, Nahomi Kawasumi rewarded her surprise call-up in the starting lineup with two goals, which more than compensated for the early score of Sweden's Josefine Oqvist.

In a battle of Japan's fine skills against the thrust and hustle of Sweden, the match totally turned in the second half when Kawasumi caught Hedvig Lindahl off her line and lobbed her from 35 meters for the third goal, one of the best in a tournament full of excellent strikes.

Sweden, a perennial power in women's soccer, never gave up but it was the rising force of Asian soccer, Japan, which reached its first World Cup final.

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