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Moenchengladbach

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After an emotional run through the tournament that few predicted, Japan emerged yesterday as the unlikely champion of the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011. After enduring the triple disasters of the earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima Diaichi nuclear catastrophe, Japan rejoiced in the first good news in months. The final came in dramatic fashion against the United States in a penalty shoot-out after the score was tied 2-2 in regulation. Sixteen countries fought for the title in Germany, resulting in the first Asian world champion. Collected here are images of the games, fans, and celebration. -- Lane Turner (30 photos total)
Japan's midfielder Homare Sawa celebrates with the trophy and teammates after the FIFA Women's Football World Cup final match against the US on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main Germany. Japan won 3-1 in a penalty shoot-out after the final had finished 2-2 following extra-time. (Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images)

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The United States swept into the finals of the sixth Women’s World Cup with a convincing 3-1 victory  over France on Wednesday in Moenchengladbach, Germany.

The Americans will play either Sweden or Japan in Sunday’s final in Frankfurt.

Goals by Lauren Cheney, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan were more than enough to overcome a talented French team that did more of the attacking but could not turn those offensive forays into goals.

Read Grahame Jones’ story

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