VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) â€” The latest from the Women's World Cup final (all times local):
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Vancouver around midday Sunday & met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper prior to attending the Women's World Cup final between Japan & the U.S.
p>Biden led a U.S. delegation to the final that included his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman, & two former U.S. soccer stars: Mia Hamm & Cobi Jones. Also traveling with the vice president: three of his grandchildren & President Barack Obama's daughter Sasha, according to a pool report.
Jill Biden led the delegation to the final in 2011 in Germany which the U.S. lost to Japan, yet her husband was absent from that trip.
Japan was reeling in the wake of the destructive tsunami that struck the country in March 2011. Its women's soccer team had a World Cup in Germany to prepare for while the country was trying to rebuild.
One of the opposing countries that became critical in helping Japan prepare for that World Cup it eventually won with friendlies & joint practices: The United States.
Japan coach Norio Sasaki said before Sunday's final that he was thankful for how the U.S. helped Japanese soccer during a "tough situation."
This will be the third straight major final between the countries with Japan winning the World Cup in 2011 & the U.S. winning the Olympic final in 2012. The Japanese women became stars & a rallying point for their country in the wake of the tsunami, yet interest in the team has waned in the years since.
"If we can win, we can make soccer a part of Japanese culture, not just a fad," Japan captain Aya Miyama said.
Vancouver is awash in the stars & stripes.
American fans filled the streets of Vancouver on Sunday ahead of the Women's World Cup final between Japan & the United States.
A large number of those fans came from the Pacific Northwest, with effortless access from the soccer hotbeds of Seattle & Portland, Oregon. Sounders, Timbers, Seattle Reign & Portland Thorns jerseys were scattered among the crowd of American jerseys with the names "Wambach," ''Leroux" & "Morgan" across the back.
But not all were locals. One family riding the train Sunday morning decided to have a family reunion in Vancouver for the final. One part of the family was from Virginia, the other from California. They bought their tickets for the final at halftime of the U.S. semifinal match against Germany when the game was still tied 0-0 in the hopes the U.S. would prevail.
They turned out to be right.
Source: “Associated Press”