Unsurprisingly, after guiding Japan to a minor upset victory at the FIFA Women's World Cup, Japan national team manager Norio Sasaki has been named the FIFA Women's World Coach of the Year. Japan has always been respectable in women's football, but has become a team able to contend with powerhouses like the United States and Germany since Sasaki took charge.
In the year he took over the team, 2008, Japan won the East Asian Football Championships and went to the semifinals of the Beijing Summer Olympics. He guided them through World Cup Qualifying, then to the World Cup title by consecutively defeating women's football powerhouses Germany, Sweden and the United States. Homare Sawa's 117th minute equalizer in the final was arguably the highlight of the tournament, and Japan would go on to win the title against the USA on penalty kicks.
Japan will be among the favorites to capture the Summer Olympics title at the 2012 games in London under Sasaki's guidance.