With the semi-final of the Women’s World Cup kicking off at midnight tonight, it seems fitting to take a look at the impressive records held by Japan’s talented football player, Homare Sawa.
The attacking midfielder first entered the record books in 2011 when she achieved the Latest Goal Scored in a FIFA Women’s World Cup Final by scoring in the 117th minute of Japan’s victory over the United States in Frankfurt, Germany.
The goal levelled the score at 2-2 which enabled Japan to proceed to penalty kicks – they triumphed 3-1 and become World Cup champions.
Homare Sawa - playing
When she was presented with her certificate in Tokyo in 2011, Frank Foley, then MD of Guinness World Records Asia Pacific, said:
"In a year when Japan has suffered such devastation due to the 11 March earthquake and tsunami, we were delighted to celebrate these uplifting records which typify the fighting spirit and character of the Japanese people".
Homare Sawa Guinness World Records
Homare’s last-minute goal usurped the record title from Nia Künzer (Germany), who scored on the 98th minute of the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup final.
The 36 year old soccer pro has also achieved the impressive Guinness World Records title for the Most appearances in the Women’s World Cup finals, having appeared 5 times since her football debut in 1993 – a career longevity few footballers can boast.
Homare Sawa - portrait
She shares this record with 4 other players: Kristine Lilly (USA), Bente Nordby (Norway), Miraildes Maciel Mota 'Formiga' (Brazil), and Birgit Prinz (Germany).
Guinness World Records can’t wait to see what happens in tomorrow’s all-important game as Homare and the rest of the Japanese team attempt to defend their title in Canada.
The record-breaking player told FIFA, “I’ve achieved almost everything a footballer can achieve and now I’m focused on securing a second World Cup title...Don’t just dream your dreams – make them come true.”