While the United States have done some shuffling of their lineup ahead of the 2011 Women's World Cup Final, Japan are sticking with a winning formula and fielding the same team that they did against Sweden in the semifinals. Kozue Ando and Nahomi Kawasumi will lead the line of what looks like an odd cross between a flat 4-4-2 and a 4-4-2 midfield diamond, with Homare Sawa (who has four goals in the tournament) and Sakaguchi taking point and base respectively while Shinobu Ohno and Aya Miyama play very wide.
Japan can get away with this (the shape would normally leave huge holes in the middle) because they're so good at keeping the ball. If the USWNT wants to get hold of the match early, they'll have to find a way of shutting down Japan's midfield play. The United States might be favourites, but Japan have already performed a giant-killing already in this tournament. There's no reason that they couldn't do it again.
Japan (4-4-2): Ayumi Kaihori; Yukari Kinga, Azusa Iwashimizu, Saki Kumagai, Aya Sameshima; Shinobu Ohno, Mizuho Sakaguchi, Homare Sawa, Aya Miyama; Nahomi Kawasumi, Kozue Ando
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.