Nadeshiko Japan loses to France 1-3 in their Europe Tour (4/1-11＠France, Germany)
05 April 2019
On Thursday 4 April, the Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women’s National Team) played their first international friendly match of the Europe tour, as they faced the France Women's National Team in France. This tour will be their final team-activity before announcing the 23-player roster for the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019.
With France hosting the Women’s World Cup in June, the match was staged in a fascinating atmosphere to welcome 15,379 fans and supporters ahead of the 9 p.m. kick-off time. The Nadeshiko Japan’s starting line-up featured YAMASHITA Ayaka in goal, with SHIMIZU Risa, KUMAGAI Saki, MINAMI Moeka, and SAMESHIMA Aya forming the defence line. The young duo, SUGITA Hina and MIURA Narumi were positioned as the defensive midfielders, while NAKAJIMA Emi and HASEGAWA Yui were placed in the flanks. It was YOKOYAMA Kumi and KOBAYASHI Rikako who led the offence as the two strikers upfront.
The match saw an early movement, as the home side captured the opening goal in the third minute. It was Wendie RENARD who connected with the cross to strike a header that carried just enough momentum to get passed the goal line despite the efforts made by the Japanese goalkeeper Yamashita to swipe the ball out. In order to level the match, Japan showed many collective movements to carry the ball upfront but struggled to deal with the pressure applied by the French side. The first shot for the visiting side came in the seventh minute, when Yokoyama fired a shot to get their momentum going.
While both sides strived for the goal by showing their colour, it was the French side who had the upper hand in the match, as they took advantage of their speed and power over Japan. However, an accident struck France, when their goalkeeper had to leave the match due to an injury in the 22nd minute. The incident shifted the tides towards Japan, as they scored the equaliser just two minutes later, when the ball was connected through Sameshima, Yokoyama, Sugita, before finding Kobayashi at the centre. The Japanese striker did a fine job to make a deceiving run to allow Nakajima to collect the ball and strike a shot. The shot was initially blocked by the opposing goalkeeper, but Kobayashi was there to convert the loose ball to level the match for Japan.
In order to threaten the Japanese goal, France pressed their side midfielders in high positions to penetrate the flanks. One of their attacks from the side earned them a corner kick, which led to the goal of Eugenie Le SOMMER to give the home side the lead once again. France took control of the rest of the half to enter the intermission with a 2-1 lead.
Despite giving up the initiative to France, the Japanese players did a fine job to create opportunities from their collective movements in the first half.
In the second half, Japan pressed up their flank players in attempt to contain the side attacks launched by their opponents. However, they struggled to connect their passes in the midfield to get their rhythm going. In efforts to change the dynamics of the match, Coach TAKAKURA Asako brought in MIYAGAWA Asato and SUGASAWA Yuika in place for Shimizu and Yokoyama in the 61st minute. The substitution allowed Hasegawa and Kobayashi shift their positions to initiate more opportunities upfront, while MIYAZAWA Hinata was introduced to the match in the 79th minute to add more layers to the offence. Despite making the changes, Japan continued to have difficulties against the French attacks that penetrated the flanks. While Japan struggled to carry the ball upfront, France forced a turnover in the midfield and fired a powerful shot at the Japanese goal in the closing minutes of the match. The shot was once saved by Yamashita, but Kaditiatou DIANI was there to convert the deflection to extend the lead for France. With the deciding goal scored by the home side, the match ended with a final score of 1-3.
The Nadeshiko Japan will now travel to Germany and face the Germany Women's National Team on Tuesday 9 at 4 p.m. local time (11 p.m. Japan time).
Coach and Players' Comments
TAKAKURA Asako, Coach of Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women’s National Team)
We played very poorly today, and it was a complete defeat for us. We failed to cope with our opponents, and we made it even tougher on ourselves by taking too much time to make decisions and transitions. We entered the second half with the intention to initiate the action, but we still struggled to deal with the speed and physiques of our opponents and failed to move the ball around as we liked. I just feel like we lacked the intensity to bring ourselves the momentum of the match. This match made us realise how vulnerable we can be against opponents that can apply aggressive pressure. We will analyse this match and prepare ourselves ahead of our next match against Germany.
DF #3 SAMESHIMA Aya (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
France deserves all the credit for their win today. I feel like we allowed them to play too freely. Our opponents had clear advantage over us in terms of physiques, but that’s something we can’t do anything about at this point, so we must focus on our collective efforts to restrict their freedom on the pitch. We need to keep ourselves on the same page, especially in defence.
MF #17 MIURA Narumi (Nippon TV Beleza)
We struggled to push forward against France and gave too much space to our opponents. We also committed too many mistakes and failed to find our own rhythm. Although we managed to control the ball in our build-up plays in the defence line, we weren’t able to carry the ball upfront. We need to be more creative, find the right distance between each other, and execute our plays with less touches.
FW #11 KOBAYASHI Rikako (Nippon TV Beleza)
We made too many simple mistakes today. I also felt there was a huge disadvantage in our physical strengths. (In the goal scene) I knew Nakajima was behind me, so I ran over the ball to allow her to take the shot. I am glad we were able to convert our few chances.
|Tue. 2 April||AM/PM||Training|
|Wed. 3 April||AM||Training|
|PM||Official Training Session|
|Thu. 4 April||1-3||International Friendly vs France Women's National Team
(Stade de l'Abbe-Deschamps)
|Sat. 6 April||AM||Training|
|Sun. 7 April||AM/PM||Training|
|Mon. 8 April||PM||Official Training Session|
|Tue. 9 April||16:00||International Friendly vs Germany Women's National Team
*The schedule is subject to change due to the team condition, the weather, etc.
International Friendly Match - Europe Tour
Tour Dates: Sun. 31 March - Thu. 11 April 2019
Venue: Stade de l'Abbe-Deschamps, Benteler Arena
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