Japan's women's football team has won the 2011 World Cup championship, beating the United States in a penalty shootout following a 2-2 draw after extra time.
The win Sunday made Japan the first Asian nation to win the World Cup title, and it denied the United States a chance to become the first team to win the championship three times. The Americans won the World Cup in 1991 and 1999.
The U.S. team was top-ranked in this year's (FIFA) tournament. As such, it was the strong favorite to win the finals match played in Frankfurt, Germany.
On Sunday of last week, the United States scored a come-from-behind victory over Brazil to get into the semifinals, and then beat France on Wednesday to reach the finals.
Japan qualified for the finals by defeating Sweden on Wednesday. It earlier scored a quarterfinal victory over host team Germany.