It was a valiant effort by our U.S. women’s soccer team, but they gave it away in the penalty kick shootout to lose, 3-1.

Not to take anything away from Japan's goaltender, Ayumi Kaihori, but when you kick the ball way above the crossbar as Carli Lloyd did, it shows that nerves got the best of you, not the goalie.

The Japanese team did not give in to the pressure, making all but one kick.

If and when the U.S. women look at the film, they will agree that this hard-fought, close game slipped away because of poor ball placement on the first three kicks.

Of course, we could mention not clearing the ball from in front of the net that led to a critical goal, or injuries and non-calls, but ultimately, mistakes in the shootout cost them.

Abby Wambach had great placement, took her time and made it count. If the first three women were able to relax and take their time as well, the outcome may have been the same for them.