LONDON – Abby Wambach isn't worried about being punched in the face again. Likewise, Carli Lloyd is pretty sure she won't have her head stomped.
In contrast with their physical experiences in five consecutive victories in this tournament, the U.S. women say they know what they'll get from Japan in Thursday's gold medal soccer match.
If not victory, respect.
The teams put their shared admiration on a pedestal Wednesday, spontaneously embracing for a photo opportunity after the news conference for the Japanese team ended.
"Our teams respect each other so much," Wambach said, explaining that inferior opponents have made the U.S. Olympic run a difficult one with dangerous play. "The Japanese team is so good, and we are so good, that it's going to be all about the soccer. And that's what's going to be so awesome about tomorrow night."