Everyone remembers the iconic image of Brandi Chastain on her knees after the U.S. women's soccer team won the 1999 World Cup Championship. Hope Solo was only 17 then, inspired by the American women on the field.
Despite their second-place status in the 2011 FIFA World Cup Final, the women of the U.S. soccer team hope their success in the tournament -- especially their appearance in the final game before a global audience -- encourages more Americans to get excited about the women's sport.
Though the U.S. women's soccer team twice defeated them earlier this year, Japan remains a formidable opponent as they're the sentimental favorites in Sunday's World Cup, American players said Thursday.
U.S. women's soccer coach Pia Sundhage has praised the "unbelievable" attitude of her players after their dramatic penalty-shootout victory over Brazil saw them reach the semifinals of the 2011 women's World Cup.