Nadeshiko Japan draws 1-1 against Spain in final training match ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019
03 June 2019
On Sunday 2 June, the Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) played their final training match ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019, against the Spain Women's National Team.
The Nadeshiko Japan and the Spain Women's National Team arrived at the match venue, Stade Gerard Houllier, where staffs were keeping themselves busy from the morning, preparing and rehearsing for the big event scheduled just around the corner.
With the temperature rising nearly up to 30 degrees Celsius, the match kicked-off at 13:50. The Japanese line-up featured YAMASHITA Ayaka in goal with four defenders, SHIMIZU Risa, KUMAGAI Saki, MINAMI Moeka, and SAMESHIMA Aya. While ICHISE Nana and SUGITA Hina played as the defensive midfielders, NAKAJIMA Emi and HASEGAWA Yui were placed in the flanks. It was YOKOYAMA Kumi and MOMIKI Yuka who were named as the two strikers upfront.
While both teams favoured a style where they utilise frequent passes to build their attacks, Japan struggled to deal with the aggressive pressure applied by the Spanish side in the early minutes of the match. Led by Kumagai, the Japanese defence showed great composure to shield off the opportunities created by Spain, but Japan conceded the opening goal from an unfortunate play. In the 22nd minute, while fighting for the ball, Ichise was called with a hand ball in the penalty area. It was Jennifer HERMOSO who stepped up to take the spot kick and scored the opening goal for Spain.
Japan continued to struggle in offence, but in the 31st minute, Ichise intercepted a pass in the opposing territory and delivered the ball to Hasegawa, who found Nakajima unmarked in the right flank. The veteran midfielder made a cut towards the centre and struck a shot, but her attempt went wide of the goal.
After seeing the first half end with a one goal lead for Spain, the second half saw both sides showcasing their characters to stir up the action. In the 60th minute, Japan brought in SUGASAWA Yuika and MIURA Narumi, followed by ENDO Jun and MIYAKE Shiori in the 76th minute to change the dynamics of the match. Despite their efforts to break the deadlock, the match entered the closing minutes without seeing Japan creating a major threat against Spain. However, the long-awaited moment came in the 86th minute, when Endo received the ball in the right flank where she was surrounded by three Spanish defenders. Despite the pressure, Endo managed to dish the ball to Sugita, allowing her to penetrate the box and send a cross towards Sugasawa, who made a diving effort to convert the delivery and equalised the match. With little time left to play, the match ended with a tied score of 1-1.
The Nadeshiko Japan will now make their ways to Paris on Monday 3, ahead of their first group stage match of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 against Argentina on Monday 10.
Coach and Players' Comments
TAKAKURA Asako, Coach of Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women’s National Team)
Despite our players giving their best efforts, we didn’t see any change of pace in both offence and defence. It seemed like both sides couldn’t find the right timing to turn-on the switch and it left a dull impression after the match. We didn’t give away any clear opportunities, and the players managed to maintain a good distance between each other to keep out the opponents from creating major threats. However, we struggled dearly in offence, as our players lacked composure and saw many scenes where we failed to adjust to our opponent’s speed. We weren’t able to take the initiative, move the ball around, and become the aggressor in offence. During halftime, with the team trailing by a goal, I told my players to be more aggressive and make more bold moves in the second half. I feel like our defence did a fine job, so we just need to make the adjustments in our offence and reduce our mistakes when we have the possession of the ball.
DF KUMAGAI Saki (Olympique Lyonnais)
As a whole, we tried many things in our defence today, and a lot of it didn’t go as planned, but it’s a good thing that we were able to test them in this match. However, we allowed our opponents to get passed our defence line way too much, and we need to win the fifty-fifty balls more often. Because those plays can lead to our opponents switching the point of the attack and cause trouble for us. We made simple mistakes to lose our rhythm, so we need to do a better job to make the adjustments on the pitch.
MF SUGITA Hina (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
Although we couldn’t win the match, it was great that we managed to come from behind to equalise the match. There were some tough stretches we had to endure, but I think we were able to make the necessary adjustments as a team. I need to be more precise with my plays and get more involved with the ball. With this being our final training match ahead of the World Cup, I feel like we were able to get off to a good start towards the tournament.
MF MOMIKI Yuka (Nippon TV Beleza)
I feel like I was able to respond well against the opponent’s build-up plays in their defence. However, I wasn’t able to showcase many plays that threatened the opposing goal, so that’s an aspect I must improve on. We weren’t able to effectively pass the ball through our defence to midfield, and midfield to offence, so we need to do a better job in our build-up plays. Also, it would have been better if I was able to make more runs and penetrate the space behind the opponent’s defence line.
FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019
Tournament Dates: Fri. 7 June - Sun. 7 July 2019
Tue. 11 June 2019 01:00 (Japan time)
vs Argentina Women's National Team
Fri. 14 June 2019 22:00 (Japan time)
vs Scotland Women's National Team
Thu. 20 June 2019 04:00 (Japan time)
vs England Women's National Team
- National Teams 2019/06/02 Nadeshiko Japan holds Official Training Session ahead of friendly match against Spain - FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019
- National Teams 2019/06/01 Nadeshiko Japan welcomes TAKARADA Saori after UEKI Riko leaves France due to injury ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019
- National Teams 2019/05/31 Introducing the 3 group stage opponents of Nadeshiko Japan at the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019
- National Teams 2019/05/31 Nadeshiko Japan emphasise on shooting drills to heighten their intention to capitalise on opportunities ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019
- National Teams 2019/10/18 U-17 Japan National Team arrives to their campsite in Sao Paulo - FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019
- National Teams 2019/10/16 U-17 Japan National Team starts training camp ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019
- National Teams 2019/10/16 SAMURAI BLUE defeats Tajikistan to mark 3 consecutive victories - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar Asian Qualification Round 2
- 2019/10/16 CSR Relay Column Vol.4 "Conveying the message of social responsibility" - Committee for Social Responsibility Member AKABANE Makiko
- National Teams 2019/10/15 SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) beats Tajikistan 3-0 ～FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ / AFC Asian Cup 2023™ Preliminary Joint Qualification - Round 2～