World Cup draw, Marta-led Brazil was the other team frequently mentioned by analysts in the world championship favorites role. .
The FIFA world number one ranked American squad had more questions than answers after being the last team to qualify in addition to some eyebrow raising losses in some friendlies in the run up to the tournament.
The FIFA number four ranked Nadeshiko Japan were coming into this tournament still feeling the effects of the March 11 earthquake and tsumami that impacted their homeland and disrupted their preparations. But that number four ranking still had them being considered as a team that had the talent to get to the final and tremendous motivation for doing so.
The Germans not only didn't make it, but because this was the European qualifier for the 2012 Olympic Games tournament they are staring at the reality they won't be playing next summer either. The Brazilians will at least get the chance in London to atone for another loss at the hands of the USA.
When the USA and Japan square off in Frankfurt am Main's Commerzbank Stadium at 1 PM CDT tomorrow afternoon my time you'll have a clash of two teams and two differing football styles on tremendous storybook runs.
losing their final group games. Both pulled off huge wins in the quarterfinal round and both won their semifinal matches by identical 3-1 scores.
Both teams are on a mission to come out on top for different reasons. The Nadeshiko Japan want to not only win their first title, they want to do so to bring smiles to a country that has gone through much suffering and drama this year. Team USA wants to not only win their third title, but cap a remarkable never say die Hollywood quality story that has already accomplished their goal of helping them create a legacy that separates them from the 1999 world championship team.
But unfortunately only one team will emerge victorious and be holding up the FIFA World Cup Trophy aloft at the conclusion of the game.
Who knows, we may even see one or both these teams stories turned into future movies.