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Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) loses to Australia 0-2, finishing the 2018 Tournament of Nations with three losses

04 August 2018

Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) loses to Australia 0-2, finishing the 2018 Tournament of Nations with three losses

In their final match of the 2018 Tournament of Nations, Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) faced the Australia Women’s National Team, who were competing for the title with the USA Women’s National Team. Against the opponent they fought twice in the AFC Asia Cup in April, this time they squared off in Chicago after loosing two consecutive matches during the competition. Desperately needing a win, Japan was seen applying aggressive pressure from their two strikers, TANAKA Mina and YOKOYAMA Kumi in the early minutes.

It was Japan who created the first goal scoring opportunity. In the fifth minute, NAKAJIMA Emi made an overlap in the right flank before driving the ball into the centre where HASEGAWA Yui made an effort to connect with the ball but came short from scoring the goal. Yokoyama had her chance moments later when she received the ball from Tanaka, while Nakajima struck a shot in the 14th minute, but Japan failed to convert any of those opportunities to score the opening goal.

The Japanese defence showcased great efforts as the centre halves SAMESHIMA Aya and MIYAKE Shiori responded quickly to shutdown threats in the penalty area. The two fullbacks, SAKAGUCHI Moeno and SHIMIZU Risa also showcased solid defence to deny the Australian strikers from taking free shots. Goalkeeper HIRAO Chika, who was making her first appearance on the pitch also displayed a quality performance to keep the match scores for the first half.

Coach TAKAKURA utilised four of her substitutes in the second half, as the two strikers IWABUCHI Mana and SUGASAWA Yuika along with defensive midfielder MIURA Narumi and right midfielder MASUYA Rika were brought in to break the deadlock. However, it was the Australia side who scored the opening goal, early in the second half from a freekick.

In efforts to level the match, Japan sought for their opportunity by sending the ball upfront to Sugasawa while Iwabuchi and Masuya continuously swapped positions to create the space to take a shot, but the Aussie defence kept their composure to deny Japan from getting a clear shot at goal. Facing the solid defence displayed by their opponents, the Japanese side gradually lost their rhythm in offence and ultimately conceded another goal in the 81st minute. Japan failed to score a goal for the first time in this competition as the match ended with a final score of 0-2.

Match details

After all matches were set and done, it was the USA side who took down the title with a mere point difference in goal differential against Australia. Brazil followed, while Japan ended the tournament in last place.

Coach and Players' Comments

TAKAKURA Asako, Coach of Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team)
We saw great development in offence, but the result speaks for itself. This is where we stand in the current world. I see that our players are performing with a positive intention, but they must realise that there are gaps between each player’s decision makings. What is important is what we do from here. This result is disappointing and regretful. We are ashamed toward our fans and supporters. But the Nadeshiko Japan must rise from this situation. We will keep our heads high and do our best to turn this into a positive.

DF #6 ARIYOSHI Saori (Nippon TV Beleza)
After playing as the defensive midfielder for the first time in our opening match against USA, I’ve managed to improve on my defensive tasks, and perform better in our match today. However, depending on the phase of the match and situation, there were some flaws in our ball movements that we must improve one. We showcased good aggressive defence in the first half but conceded early in the second half from a freekick. After giving up the goal, we still had plenty of time, so we reminded each other that we didn’t have to rush the plays too much. The goals we conceded were given up too easily, and if we play like this at next year’s World Cup, we cannot win.

MF #14 HASEGAWA Yui (Nippon TV Beleza)
Through the three matches, we’ve seen that if each one of us prepared ourselves with composure and positioned ourselves well, we can possess the ball and finish the plays with a shot. However, we also learned that one simple mistake can change the course of the match dramatically. Personally, I was able to play with more confidence compared to the last time we’ve played. We must improve on the situations where our defensive approach gets too light, the one-on-one situations, and how we defend against the long-range shots. The tournament reminded us that if we can play defence persistently, we can keep the match within our reach.

FW #8 IWABUCHI Mana (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
We conceded soon after the substitution players including myself were brought onto the pitch. This is a disappointing result, but we must acknowledge where we stand at the moment. There were times where we controlled the match and created opportunities, so we should be confident about that aspect. We still need to improve ourselves to cope with teams like USA and Australia, but I personally don’t think we are that far behind. We still need to work harder, but I feel like we’ve gained something in this tournament.

Schedule

2018 Tournament of Nations
Wed. 25 July PM Official Training
Thu. 26 July 2-4 vs USA Women's National Team (Children's Mercy Park)
Sat. 28 July PM Official Training
Sun. 29 July 1-2 vs Brazil Women's National Team (Pratt & Whitney Stadium)
Mon. 30 July AM Training
Tue. 31 July AM Training
Wed. 1 August PM Official Training
Thu. 2 August 0-2
vs Australia Women's National Team (Toyota Park)

*Local Time, Japan time indicated within the parentheses
*The schedule is subject to change due to the team condition, the weather, etc.

2018 Tournament of Nations

Tournament Dates: Thu. 26 July - Thu. 2 August 2018
Live broadcasting scheduled on NHK BS1
Information on live broadcast(Japanese website)
Tournament Information

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