France vs. Japan would make perfect final

French players celebrate their goal against England during their Women's World Cup quarterfinal...

French players celebrate their goal against England during their Women's World Cup quarterfinal match on July 9, 2011. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

Here's hoping for a Japan versus France Women's World Cup final in Germany this weekend.

If we have to settle for second best, the United States versus Japan wouldn't be bad either.

Nothing personal against Sweden, who plays Japan in one semifinal Wednesday, or the United States, who plays France in the other, but having a new nation in the final, a nation that is developing its women's soccer program, is the kind of legacy this tournament deserves.

Having France in the final is a just reward to a team that's been the most entertaining in the tournament.

Since the Women's World Cup was first held in 1991, it has only been won by three nations. Germany and the United States have won it twice each, with Norway winning it the other.

The 2011 World Cup is a watershed moment in the women's game. Germany has provided women's soccer with an ideal stage to promote itself. German fans and those from around the world have been treated to a show.

While there are double the teams in the men's World Cup, there is an argument to be made that this World Cup has been more entertaining than what the men provided in South Africa a year ago.

The improvement in how women play the game is extraordinary. Germany has accepted the sport and fans have swarmed to watch it.

The final 60 minutes of the United States-Brazil quarterfinal, won in jaw-dropping fashion by the Americans, pushed the tournament and the sport over the top. It was beautiful, riveting, nasty and on a knife's edge.

The equality women worked hard to achieve in this sport arrived the moment Brazil's Marta was booed by the crowd. It added a component often missing in the women's game, the level that can be dialed up past competitive to scalding.

This World Cup will further advance the development of the game which is good news for 2015 when the World Cup will be expanded to 24 teams and played in Canada.

Hyped games have a bad habit of not delivering in their promise. But the United States and France is a mouth-watering match.

France has provided some of this tournament's finest football. The French move the ball about the pitch, throw players forward into attack and have been a pleasure to watch. It's seems part of French football tradition is always to field an elegant midfield regardless of gender and this team is no exception. Camille Abily, Gaetane Thiney and Louisa Necib drive this team from the middle. If the French could finish as well as they create they would be favoured.

The Americans defend well and as they proved against Brazil, never give up. France will have trouble containing Amy Wambach on high balls.

The Sweden-Japan semifinal will be like watching the elephant trying to stomp out the gnat. Sweden is a physical team that relies on strength and opportunism. They will attempt to pressure the Japanese into mistakes.

Japan has been a magnificent addition to this tournament. They are quick and organized defensively. Their transition game can do some damage to a team that continually presses. The Japanese proved they could withstand pressure against Germany. Japan was unfazed on their way to a massive 1-0 upset of a team that hadn't lost a World Cup match since the 1999 quarterfinals.

Homare Sawa has been a revelation. Like many of her teammates, she seems indefatigable. With the tournament nearing its end, conditioning will become a major factor.

France, Japan would be enticing and it is a real possibility.

But no matter who makes through to the final, say a prayer to the soccer gods that the final three games befit a tournament that has meant so much to the women's game and provided entertainment worthy of a great sport.

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