Fresh off a dramatic miracle win against Canada, which featured some terrible officiating and a brilliant game-winning goal by Alex Morgan, the United States plays for another gold medal in women's soccer on Thursday at Wembley Stadium. Much to the delight of neutrals, they'll be playing in a dream final against Japan, the team that defeated them on penalties in the final of last year's World Cup.
With the exception of Ali Krieger, who missed the Olympics with a knee injury, both teams are intact from last year's spectacular final. Japan's first choice starting XI is unchanged, but the United States' lineup has been altered significantly due to form and the development of some young players. Lauren Cheney has switched positions, while Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have gone from being key substitutes to the two deadliest attacking players on the team.
Because the teams are mostly the same, each team will have the exact same advantages as they did in their meeting in Germany. The United States has spectacular athletes and will have a big advantage on attacking set pieces, while Japan keeps the ball better than any team in the world and is more technically skilled than the USWNT. Japan will want the game played on the ground, while the United States would prefer a match that resembles a track meet.
Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET, 7:45 p.m. local time from Wembley Stadium in London. NBC Sports Network will have the broadcast of the game in the United States.
We'll have news and features in the build-up to our live coverage of the final in our USA Vs. Japan, London 2012 Olympics StoryStream.