Nadeshiko Japan prepare for semi-final – head coach shows fighting spirit for match against England
29 June 2015
Nadeshiko Japan, who aim to become back-to-back champions at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada, restarted their practice sessions on 28 June in Edmonton in preparation for the semi-final against England. SASAKI Norio, the head coach, showed his fighting spirit for the England match, saying: ”we absolutely cannot lose.”
In the quarterfinals, a few hours after Japan beat Australia 1-0 in Edmonton the day before, England beat the host country, Canada, 2-1 in Vancouver, and booked a place in the semi-final.
Japan met England in the third match of the group stage in the previous World Cup in Germany in 2011, when Japan won the tournament, but lost the game 2-0. Japan’s record against England is two wins and two losses.
Sasaki spoke to reporters in Edmonton after the practice session and commented: ”England was the only team we lost against in the previous championship. The players as well as I feel strongly that we must win this time.” He also noted: ”we’ve been playing hard each game in order to get though to the final and be back-to-back champions. We’d like to raise our game even more for a new challenge, where we cannot lose.”
He pointed out that in this championship England’s forwards are powerful, being supported by the attacking skills on both sides. The team are excellent, and they have the height. Showing his confidence in Japan, he also commented: ”having said that, we have gained good results against similar teams.”
The semi-final will kick-off on 1 July. As the players are having a three-day break after the extreme heat during the quarterfinal, Sasaki said: ”adjusting to the conditions is vital. We’d like to prepare well for the coming match.”
Nadeshiko Japan started their preparation for the game against England. The players, who started the match against Australia, stayed at the hotel to recover.
Other players, who were on the bench, as well as forward IWABUCHI Mana (FC Bayern Munich), who decided the match with her goal in the quarterfinal, and midfielder SAWA Homare (INAC Kobe), were on the practice ground. Under the blazing sun, just like the day before, the players held a one-hour practice session, focusing on passing the ball and switching plays between attack and defence.
Sasaki expected that in the knockout stage they’d need all their players and skills. He was satisfied with the players’ attitude, commenting: ”we, all the players in the team, play together, trying hard and proactively”, as the players had wanted the practice session that day to be in a mini-game format.
England flew from Vancouver to Edmonton in the afternoon.
The semi-final between Japan and England will kick-off at 17:00 on 1 July (at 8:00 on 2 July Japan Time) at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
Head Coach and Players' Comments
SASAKI Norio, Head Coach (Nadeshiko Japan/Japan Women’s National Team)
We played our style well against Australia. I think we’re getting even better in both attack and defence through the first and second matches of the knockout stage. I hope we’ll continue that in the game against England.
As England was the only opponent, who beat us in the previous championship, the players as well as I, as head coach, strongly feel that we definitely do not want to lose the game again. Winning the coming match means that we get through to the final, which keeps us highly motivated.
The only thing is that we were beaten by England after playing well in our first and second games in 2011. As we’ve learned our lessons, we’d like to stay focused from the beginning of the match. Getting ourselves into good condition is vital, and we’d like to prepare well for the coming match.
DF #4 KUMAGAI Saki (Olympique Lyonnais/France)
It’s a big deal that we don’t have to change the location before the coming match. The whole team have a three-day break, but our opponent had to fly to come here. Also England played their quarterfinal at a later time of the day than us, which may give us some advantage.
All we need is to get ourselves ready as much as possible, so that we can do our best on the pitch. I hope whatever we’re trying here will bring our supporters in Japan good results. I’d like to live up to expectations by achieving what we’re supposed to do here.
FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015
Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women’s National Team) vs England Women's National Team
Thu. 2 July - 8:00 (Japan Time)
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