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The last strike

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There was only 10 min left in the prolongation of the final match between Korea VS Japan for the tittle of the 20th women football world cup, the score in this 110th minute is 1:1.

It is intense and both teams are exhausted since it is their second prolonged play and all changes on both part were already made.

 

The ball is in the hands of goalkeeper Yoo; looking at her teammates thinking about the best option she has that would make her team finally get the upper hand and score the goal that would make them champions.
After a few seconds of intense internal strategy making, she throws the ball towards captain Park and trust her that their non verbal eyes communication got through.

Captain Park moves up cautiously the field, but it is without saying that the opposing team will not make her journey to their side that easy, especially Japanese player Minatozaki who has been on her heels during all the match, stuck to her like a bee to her queen, Captain Park visibly exhausted was getting annoyed and so to get rid of Minatozaki passed the ball across to left field Im.

Left field Im didn't have much time to keep the ball and advance that Hirai from the Japanese team dashed straight onto her in an attempt to get hold of the ball, which, with a little difficulty, she managed to do and use her remaining energy to sprint and go for an attack towards the Korean goal. 

Both team with a sudden jolt of pressure and adrenaline all go into the battle for the last point, more than half the Japanese team followed in Hirai's path and all Koreans attackers retreated to help their defense.

Defender Kim goes onto Hirai to try and stop her momentum but before she could reach her, Hirai passes the ball to the center to Minatozaki, there's a little less than 5m between her and the goal but after passing the middle defender she tries her luck before the rest of the Korean team is onto her and strike the ball with all her might.

The ball is strong and goes onto the right bottom corner of the goal but goalkeeper Yoo saw it coming and was already onto that trajectory and it's easily that she stops the ball.

Every Korean players sigh of relief and scream at Yoo for her spectacular save, but there's no time to spare and Yoo already on her feet throws the ball back at captain Park that quickly turns the tides on their favor and sprint towards the Japanese goal.

Since almost all the Japanese team was on the Korean side there was only two at the defense left before passing the famous "Japanese wall", that captain and goalkeeper Myoi has as a surname.

Park still sprinting looks in front of her and see striker and ace player Son dash and run faster on the side, with her remaining energy she passes one of the Japanese defender and manages to pass the ball to Son with the hope that she will finally score. 

But as player Son is arming her leg for her famous "tiger strike", the whistle is heard throughout the stadium halting her in her course of action, confused, Son look at the time but see that there's still 5 mins left to the game, so without understanding she then looks at the referee on the side holding their flag up and then see main referee Chou signal that Son is offside, Son frustrated goes up to referee Chou to try and argue the fault but Captain Park arrives fast to her side and calm her down saying there isn't much time left and that they should go back to their side since it was probably going to be the last big offense the Japanese team would have.

And Captain Park was right, this time all the Japanese players all went to the Korean side and captain Myoi came running to the offside spot to shoot the last ball to her teammates.

The Korean side is packed with all players from both teams, goalkeeper Yoo is having a hard time seeing everything and especially where is Myoi going to aim at.

Referee Chou blows the whistle and captain Myoi shoot as strong as she can the ball to the right side looking for Minatozaki's head.

After a fierce battle in front of the Korean goal and everyone moving, all players have only eyes onto the ball that is coming onto them, Minatozaki with the help of one of her teammate takes the advantage in the air and head strike the ball right onto the upper left corner, but once again in the nick of time, goalkeeper Yoo save the day and punch the ball before it goes into the net.

The ball bounce off her fist and Yoo almost crashes onto the poll, the ball goes straight to player Im, which, with difficulty deviates it as best as she can, but it goes right into the middle of the mess and jumble of players all hungrily ready to fight for it, but before the ball actually make its rebound on the grass, player Hirai that came out of nowhere performs a volley shot that no one saw coming and the ball goes straight into the net.

Everyone in the stadium went silent during that last action and when the ball went into the net a loud bang of screams can be heard throughout the whole place!

Player Hirai Momo jumps and starts to run out of the jumble of players to the side of the field joining the screams and tears of all supporters cheering for her from their seats.

Every Japanese players runs towards Momo, Minatozaki Sana, Momo's best friend since their trainee days at the football center jumps onto her and hugs her while crying tears of joy; they did it! They were the 20th world cup champions, like they always used to dream about during their younger years training!

Momo, seeing her best friend's face and smile suddenly burst into tears herself, she hugs her back tightly before all her other teammates joined them while crying and cheering for her.

The whistle of referee Chou is finally heard signaling the end of the final match and this is only then that the tears of joy of one team are joined with the tears of sadness of the other.

The Korean team still confused at what just happened so quickly finally realized the outcome and all can be seen defeated, sad and some crying in frustration. 

Goalkeeper Yoo Jeongyeon still on the floor from her last save is watching the ball in the net, at that sight she punches the grass in frustration with her fist before turning her gaze to her friend Im Nayeon that is sitting on the grass as well, head between her legs trying to hide her tears from everyone. Jeongyeon then slowly goes to her in an attempt to console her even though, she herself, is on the verge of crying.

"I'm so sorry" Nayeon says without looking at her "I'm so sorry, if I hadn't lost that ball first and... then if only I'd deviate this one a bit further..." she couldn't finish her sentence, her sobbing was too strong now and the flow of tears unstoppable.

"Don't be ridiculous, you did your best unnie" replied Jeongyeong quickly embracing her and telling her again and again how she played as best as she could, both of them now crying into each other's arms.

The Korean team was at its lowest, captain Park Jihyo was trying to comfort everyone going from one teammates to another trying to cheer everyone as best as she could, she was now by Kim Dahyun's sides, hugging her and looking at the same time for her ace player Son Chaeyoung, she knew she was the one that would have to be consoled the most. She knew the pressure the coach and the whole country had put on her when they were all calling her the pride and future of the Korean football team and gave her the nickname of "Tiger Son", she knew she was going to be the most devastated at their loss today feeling like she had failed her team and country because she couldn't score a second time to claim the victory.

Looking for Chaeyoung with her eyes while still hugging Dahyun, she finally spotted her on the opposite side of the field almost near the Japanese goal, as she was about to let go of Dahyun to go to her, she then saw Myoi Mina, captain of the Japanese team, go towards Chaeyoung.

Jihyo then relaxed her shoulders and sighed, she knew it was probably best that Mina was the one to comfort Chaeyoung right about now.

Despite the obvious friendly rivalry both teams had when in a international competition like the world cup, in reality both Japanese and Korean players were all friends more or less with each other since some of them played in the same team when it was smaller league competitions.

For example she was teammates with no one else than Minatozaki Sana when playing in their club of Paris Saint-Germain the rest of the time, so she knew that Mina was the best at this moment to comfort Chaeyoung.

It was no secret in the football community that Son Chaeyoung and Myoi Mina were called the Golden duo because of their amazing skills and chemistry when they are playing on the same side for the Seattle OL Reign team.

Chaeyoung was exhausted, she was sitting on the grass not too far from the spot where she was called out for her offside fault.

She was so exhausted that she couldn't even shed a tear, at least not now, not in front of everyone, she was keeping it all inside trying to contain all the pain and anger she has towards herself, not letting go of the fact that if she had paid attention to her placement she wouldn't have made that fault and probably would have scored for her team. 

But thinking about it now, it would have been a 50/50 chance of scoring since the goalkeeper was no less than her best friend and partner in life Myoi Mina, that thought made her giggle, but the sad type of giggle, when you see the irony of a situation you have no control of.

"What are you giggling about all alone? Have you finally lost it?" A familiar voice was heard behind Chaeyoung and she turned her head towards it smiling faintly showing her cute dimple.

"I was thinking that if I wasn't offside earlier, I still only had a 50/50 chance to score since you were the one I was going up against with"

"Well obviously I would have stopped your shot, for sure" Mina then said smiling showing her gums, she then proceeded to sit on the grass next to Chaeyoung.

"Yeah you're probably right, I was never gonna make it anyway"

"Chaeyoung, don't! You know I was only joking" Mina's smile was now replaced with a concerned look towards Chaeyoung. She knew all too well how stressed and pressured she was during the whole competition; they couldn't see each other since they were both in different hotels with their respective teams but they were talking on the phone every nights after practice.

Without adding more, Mina just put a calming hand onto Chaeyoung's arm, rubbing her visible tattoos she learned to love so much; even though most of their teammates knew about their relationship outside the football field, the world around them was still unaware of that side of the so called perfect chemistry they had together, there were always precautions to avoid any suspicion, the world sadly was still a scary place for them to proclaim their love freely.

"Chaeyoung, look at me"

With difficulty and after a few long minutes, Chaeyoung who had her head hanging down looking at the grass, looked at Mina's face.

All she could see in that instant in Mina's eyes was the love she has for her, she traced with her gaze the cute beauty spots on her face and it calmed her down and she faintly smiled again.

"Chaeyoung, I am so proud of you!" Mina then said, her love radiating from this simple phrase.

At those words, Chaeyoung couldn't keep it in anymore, anyone could have said them and she still wouldn't have shed any tears, but the only person who could break the walls she put up high around her emotions and feelings was right next to her and the love and genuine pride she could feel from those simple words were enough to annihilate every walls she could ever build.

Tears started to fall off Chaeyoung's eyes, she couldn't stop them nor she wanted to do so anymore, without even a second thought Chaeyoung buries her face in the crook of Mina's neck and softly cried her heart out.

Taken aback at first because they were still in the public eye, Mina feeling the warm tears of her beloved then forgot in seconds about the rest of the world and then hugged Chaeyoung tightly. 

It doesn't matter anymore what people see and what people will say, she will fight anyone and everyone with her bare hands if it means she can protect and love the person she wants and needs in this whole world.

And for Japanese captain Myoi Mina, her trophy today won't be about the football world cup, no, her real victory tonight will be to be able to show the world how much she loves Korean ace striker Son Chaeyoung.