Team USA's road to a potential 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup title just got a little bumpier.
Homare Sawa of Japan ended Brazilian forward Marta's five-year reign as FIFA player of the year on Monday in Zurich. American Abby Wambach was a finalist.
Women have refereed in MLS and lower tiers of the men's international game, and those who have think they are better for it.
Playing together and playing for their country has spurred the Japanese on an amazing run.
England stands a good chance of advancing to the quarterfinals. Jill Scott, with her height, could play a key role in Tuesday's game against the smaller Japanese.