All-WWC team highlighted by Japan, U.S. stars
By Brian Westfall, Soccer Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Japan capped a memorable Women's World Cup on Sunday with a 3-1 shootout win over the United States to decide a 2-2 draw, so it's a good time to take a look at the most influential players in Germany.
Although some of the players responsible for the most memorable plays, such as Equatorial Guinea's Bruna picking up the ball in her own box without receiving a card, won't be found here, the following players made the most impact on the field to make our all-tournament team:
Forward: Marta (Brazil)
Marta scored four goals in just four matches to move into a tie with Germany's Birgit Prinz for the all-time World Cup scoring lead with 14 goals. At just 25 - expect that record to have just one owner in 2015.
Forward: Charlotta Schelin (Sweden)
Schelin had two goals and two assists and was a dynamic attacking force up top for the Swedes. She played every minute of every match, helping Sweden defeat the U.S. in group play and finish third in the tournament.
Forward: Abby Wambach (United States)
Abby Wambach finished the WWC with four goals and one assist.
Wambach scored the most important goal of the World Cup for the United States, a 122nd-minute tying goal against Brazil in the quarterfinals that was followed by a penalty shootout win. She finished with four goals and one assist.
Midfielder: Lisa Dahlkvist (Sweden)
Dahlkvist scored three goals but her real importance in midfield cannot easily be measured by her stats. With captain and midfield leader Caroline Seger out of three games via suspension and injury, Dahlkvist anchored the midfield.
Midfielder: Louisa Necib (France)
Necib's impact can be measured most accurately by the time she was not on the field as her absence in the first half of a 4-2 loss to Germany and for nearly 60 minutes of a 2-1 defeat to Sweden left France a step behind its best opposition.
Midfielder: Homare Sawa (Japan)
Sawa was the engine behind Japan's run to the final of the tournament, and her five goals and one assist only scratch the surface of how influential she was in her fifth World Cup. Without her, Japan does not win the title.
Midfielder: Aya Miyama (Japan)
Miyama had a goal and an assist in the final, scored the lone goal against New Zealand in group play, and teamed with Sawa to form the best midfield duo in Germany. She led the tournament with four assists and also had two goals.
Defender: Sonia Bompastor (France)
Bompastor provided a good combination of offense and defense for France, and scored against the United States in the semifinals. Her ability to get forward sparked France's offense, and it didn't hinder her defensive responsibilities.
Defender: Yukari Kinga (Japan)
Kinga played every minute of every match for Japan, which allowed just four goals in its first five games to reach the World Cup final. Not flashy at all, Kinga got involved offensively and remained steady in the back.
Defender: Christie Rampone (United States)
Rampone was the lone holdover from the 1999 World Cup championship squad, and the 36-year-old was the best defender in Germany this summer. She still showed great speed and excellent positioning, and was solid in every match.
Goalkeeper: Hope Solo (United States)
Solo redeemed herself from 2007, when her outburst after being benched in the semifinals disrupted the U.S. team. She was easily the best goalkeeper in the tournament, and without her, the Americans don't reach the final.
Substitute: Megan Rapinoe (United States)
Rapinoe lost her starting role just days before the World Cup, but as a super sub provided a spark in the first five matches for the U.S. She did start the final and was the best American midfielder. She had one goal and two assists.