World Baseball Classic final: Japan wins third title with 3-2 win over Team USA
(CNN) -- [Breaking news update, published at 10:44 p.m. ET]
Japan won the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday night, downing Team USA 3-2 in the championship game at loanDepot Park in Miami. The title is the third for Japan, which also won in 2006 by defeating Cuba in the final and in 2009 when it edged out South Korea. It went through the 2023 tournament undefeated.
[Previous story, published at 12:56 p.m. ET]
The World Baseball Classic will reach its conclusion when Team USA takes on Japan in what should be an epic championship game to decide who takes home the WBC crown.
Both teams have impressed throughout the tournament and deserve their place in the final -- giving fans a brilliant climax to what has been an incredible tournament of baseball.
The final will now also be a chance to watch the imperious Shohei Ohtani against his irrepressible Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout.
How to watch the final?
Team USA and Team Japan will face each other in the championship game at loanDepot Park in Miami.
The game begins at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 21 and will be streamed on the FOX Sports app and FOXsports.com.
Alternatively, the game will also be shown on FS1 on TV.
How did both teams get here?
Japan is yet to lose a game throughout the WBC tournament, and unlike the US, can boast a 100% winning record heading into the final.
Led by the ever-brilliant Ohtani, Japan eased through the group stage in consummate fashion.
'Samurai Japan' scored a staggering 38 runs across its four group stage games before beating Italy 9-3 in the quarterfinals.
However, the semifinal was far more challenging for Japan. The team came up against a strong Mexico squad, which had already beaten Team USA in the groups, and Japan was down 5-4 heading into the ninth.
Angels star Ohtani led the inning off with a double, before Masataka Yoshida was walked to first. With runners on first and second, up stepped Munetaka Murakami.
The 23-year-old crushed a walk-off double to deep center field, allowing Ohtani and Yoshida to score and giving Japan the most dramatic of semifinal wins.
On the other hand, Team USA has had a more challenging route to the final than its fellow finalist.
Mark DeRosa's team lost 11-5 against Mexico before scraping past Colombia with a 3-2 win in its final group stage game.
A tough quarterfinal match-up against Venezuela then followed: the US found itself 7-5 down in the top of the eighth and, with the bases loaded, up stepped Trea Turner.
The Philadelphia Phillies shortstop was the calmest man in the stadium and crushed a huge bomb to left-field to give Team USA the lead, with what he described as the "biggest hit" of his career.
A much easier test came next with Team USA dominating Cuba 14-2 in the semifinal to reach the championship game.
Fans will be intrigued by the prospect of a US vs Japan final with 'Shotime' facing up against some of the biggest names in baseball -- including his superstar teammate Trout.