Coming into the final of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, it's no secret that Japan has a much smaller and much more skilled team than the United States. They'll have to impose their style of play if they want to win the match. Here's a breakdown of some of Japan's key players and what they need to do to win the match.
Homare Sawa - With four goals, the legendary Japanese No. 10 is tied for the Golden Boot going into the World Cup final. She is her team's best goal scorer and primary creator, and it almost goes without saying that she will need to be on her game for Japan.
Aya Miyama - The diminutive Japanese midfielder is arguably the greatest set piece taker in world football. Japan will have a much better chance to win if they create plenty of set pieces for her to take.
Aya Sameshima - Japan's left back, also a player for the Boston Breakers in WPS, is a very talented and extremely fit two-way fullback. Her battles both on defense and in the attack against Ali Krieger and Heather O'Reilly should be thrilling to watch.
How Japan Wins
Keep possession - Japan is one of the best passing teams in the world. If they maximize that advantage today with good possession numbers, they'll feel good about their chances.
Don't get caught cheating up - The United States is arguably most dangerous counter-attacking down the wings. Sameshima and right back Yukari Kinga will have to make sure that they don't get caught up when Japan loses the ball.
Don't give up set pieces - The biggest advantage that the USWNT has is attacking on set pieces. Japan needs to prevent the number of chances the United States gets, especially on corner kicks, to keep them off the scoreboard.
Check out the corresponding post about the United States, key players and how the USWNT wins the World Cup final.
For all of our coverage of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup semifinals and how the two teams got to the final, give our Sweden vs. Japan and USA vs. France StoryStreams a read. For all of our previous coverage of the tournament, check out our 2011 Women's World Cup section. For more on the final, bookmark this StoryStream. We'll have updates in the build-up to the game. You can catch the game on Sunday at 2:45 P.M. ET on ESPN. We'll have more information on the schedule of events and where to watch as the game approaches.