LONDON - Abby Wambach hopped down from the second-place spot on the podium at last summer's World Cup already envisioning a rematch with Japan a year later in London - for Olympic gold.
She was right.
Penalty kicks were all that separated the Americans and Japanese that day in Frankfurt, Germany. Japan twice rallied from behind in the 2-2 game, then went 3-1 on penalty kicks to pull off the upset. The victory provided a much-needed morale boost for a ravaged nation still suffering from the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Now these women's soccer rivals meet again with the world watching when they play for the Olympic title on Thursday at Wembley Stadium.
Also on Thursday, the first Olympic gold medals ever in women's boxing will be awarded at the ExCel arena. U.S. middleweight Claressa Shields, at just 17, is the Americans' lone hope of a boxing championship at the London Games.
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