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US Women's Soccer Team Has 'No Animosity' With Japan

After Japan shocked the US on penalty kicks in the Women's World Cup, the two countries are meeting again on the biggest stage in women's soccer in Thursday's gold medal game.

And in sharp contrast to the often chippy affair that was the US women's defeat of Canada on Tuesday, the American and Japanese teams have gone out of their way to talk about how much they respect each other:

"I think that both teams have the utmost respect for one another on a lot of different levels," said Megan Rapinoe in a press availability. "We've played with quite a few of the players and we've played against them quite a few times. We definitely respect the way that they play and they respect the way that we play. We just know that it's going to be a good game. There is no animosity. They snatched our dream last year and still we have that respect for them. There's nothing off the field, there's no antics. All that matters is that we play an entertaining style of game tomorrow."

The game will take place at 2:45 PM ET on the NBC Sports Channel and streamed online at NBCsports.com.

For the latest on the 2012 Olympics, check out SB Nation's dedicated Olympics hub.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.