Nadeshiko Japan concedes late penalty to lose against Netherlands at the Round of 16 - FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019
27 June 2019
On Tuesday 25 June, the Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) played their match at the round of 16 in the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 against the Netherlands Women National Team.
In their first match of the knockout stage, Japan stared YAMASHITA Ayaka in goal, with the defence line of SAMESHIMA Aya, ICHISE Nana, KUMAGAI Saki, and SHIMIZU Risa. With HASEGAWA Yui returning to the left side, NAKAJIMA Emi positioned herself in the right side, while SUGITA Hina and MIURA Narumi played as the defensive midfielders. SUGASAWA Yuika and IWABUCHI Mana were named as the two forwards up front to complete the 4-4-2 formation.
The Netherlands applied great pressure from the beginning of the match, while Japan made their efforts to connect the short passes to carry the ball upfront. Each time the Dutch side forced a turnover, Sherida SPITSE engineered their offence by sending pinpoint passes to their three attackers, but Japan responded by showcasing complete composure with Kumagai leading the defence line.
The opening goal was scored in the 17th minute, when Lieke MARTENS superbly converted a corner kick to give her side the early lead. A close opportunity to equalise the match came for Japan just two minutes following the opening goal, as Iwabuchi and Hasegawa combined to allow Sugasawa to take a shot, but her attempt went off the goal post. With the two sides displaying an intense battle, Japan started to pick up their rhythm towards the end of the first half. The long-awaited moment came in the 43rd minute, when Sugita delivered a pass towards Sugasawa, who was waiting at the edge of the box. With the striker laying the ball to Iwabuchi, a through ball was delivered into the box that allowed Hasegawa to run into the goal area and strike a shot into the upper right corner.
The match entered halftime with a score of 1-1, but the Japanese players finished off the half strong, leaving high hopes towards the second half.
With no changes made from both sides, the Netherlands kicked-off the second half. In attempt to take the initiative of the second half, the Netherlands applied aggressive pressure from their front line, but Japan showed great composure to connect their passes at their defence line. The players responded to coach TAKAKURA Asako’s ideal style of “making their own decisions on the pitch,” and started to take control of the match. Numbers of close opportunities were created for Japan, as Sugasawa, Nakajima, and Hasegawa came close to scoring the go-ahead goal in the 55th, 64th, and 71st minute respectively, but the Dutch goalkeeper made brilliant saves to keep the score intact. Sugita came within inches to score in the 77th minute, but her shot was denied by the cross bar, followed by MOMIKI Yuka in the 80th minute, only to see her shot blocked by a fine save made by the goalkeeper. Two minutes later, Miura tried her luck with a well struck shot, but once again, Japan fell short from scoring the goal.
Despite creating numbers of opportunities, Japan couldn’t find ways to score their second goal. As the idea of entering extra time came across everyone’s mind, the shot taken by Vivianne MIEDEMA in the 89th minute struck Kumagai’s hand, giving the Netherlands a penalty kick at the final moments of the match. With the Netherlands converting the spot-kick, the match ended with a final score of 1-2, ending the World Cup campaign for the Nadeshiko Japan at the round of 16.
DF #4 KUMAGAI Saki (Olympique Lyonnais)
I really wanted to win this match, so I am gutted at this moment. We managed to erase our opponent’s strong points and our defence showed great effectiveness to shutout our opponents, so this result is very disappointing. Although we created numbers of opportunities, a match can be decided by a single play like this, and that is part of the game. I don’t know what it is, but we must have lacked something to deserve this result. The team showed great improvements and our performance got better over the matches, so I am disappointed that we couldn’t win today. In order to make deeper runs at these tournaments, we must become a team that can win matches while sticking with our own style of football, so we will continue to work hard to get better.
MF #14 HASEGAWA Yui (Nippon TV Beleza)
The result is everything, and I am disappointed that we weren’t able to earn that result at this knockout stage. We had our chances, and throughout this tournament, our inability to capitalise on those opportunities was a constant issue for the team, so this result is our responsibility as the attacking players, especially with our defence showing great efforts to keep us in the game. I feel guilty for the older players on this team. Although people may say that you still have another chance, nothing is guaranteed, and this is certainly the final match with this current team. I know how hard the older players have worked towards this tournament, so rather than thinking about our next opportunity, I must acknowledge and accept this result first.
FＷ #8 IWABUCHI Mana (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
I am gutted. We created more opportunities than our previous matches, but it doesn’t mean a thing if we couldn’t convert them. The result is everything, so despite how we played, we lost the match and that is it. We came long ways with this team and including those who couldn’t make it here, this was our final tournament with this current team. We had players who could’ve played, if we made a deeper run at this tournament, too. With all that in mind, I am very disappointed. I can’t think much about the future now, but we will have the Olympics in a year, so we must restart from scratch to do better in that tournament.
FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019
Tournament Dates: Fri. 7 June - Sun. 7 July 2019
Knockout Stage Round of 16:
Wed. 26 June 2019 04:00 (Japan Time)
vs Netherlands Women's National Team
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