Japan just has the U.S. women's national team's number at the moment.
In their first meeting since the dramatic World Cup final that Japan won in penalty kicks, Japan topped the U.S. women 1-0 in the final group game of the Algarve Cup on Monday, preventing the Americans from a place in the championship game for the first time in 10 years and dealing them their first shutout in 58 matches.
All the U.S. women needed to reach the final was a draw after entering the match tied with Japan on points in Group B but ahead on goal differential. With Japan's possession-oriented game stifling the Americans' potent attack, it looked as if a scoreless draw was in the cards until Megume Takase scored on a header off a corner kick in the 84th minute.
The U.S. women will play Sweden — U.S. manager Pia Sundhage's native country and another team that beat the United States at the World Cup — in Wednesday's third-place game. As for Japan, the United States will get another crack at its nemesis on April 1 in the opening match of the three-team Kirin Challenge Cup that takes place on Japanese soil.
Highlights from the match and postgame reaction are after the jump: