【Match Report】Nadeshiko Japan lose to Brazil after failing to capitalise on crucial opportunities
17 February 2023
On Thursday 16 February, the Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) lost 1-0 to the Brazil Women's National Team in their first match of the SheBelieves Cup.
Head Coach IKEDA Futoshi decided to use a three-back formation with MIYAKE Shiori, KUMAGAI Saki, and MINAMI Moeka forming the defence line in their first match of 2023. UEKI Riko, MIYAZAWA Hinata, and FUJINO Aoba were positioned as the three attackers up front, with SUGITA Hina, who currently plays in the US, positioned on the left side. For the first time since Japan's match against Korea Republic in July 2022, goalkeeper TANAKA Momoko started the match.
Although Japan did well to contain the Brazilian offence in the early minutes, they struggled to create chances themselves. Miyazawa, HASEGAWA Yui, and Sugita connected passes to create an opportunity in the 12th minute, but the shot taken by Ueki was blocked by the opposing defender.
In the 21st minute, Geyse responded to a through ball down the middle to break into the Japanese penalty area, but Miyake was there to intercept the final pass. Despite the numerous chances Japan had through free kicks and corner kicks, the match remained tied 0-0 at halftime.
The second half saw Brazil create a number of opportunities, but Tanaka made several big saves to make her presence felt in front of the goal. In efforts to change the dynamics of the match, Japan introduced ENDO Jun and HAMANO Maika in the 51st and 56th minutes respectively. In the 63rd minute, Hamano delivered a pass to set up the shot of Fujino, but her attempt was saved by the opposing goalkeeper.
The crowd erupted when Marta entered the game in the 68th minute, and Brazil’s veteran striker produced results just three minutes later when she assisted the goal of Debinha to give her side the lead.
A golden opportunity arrived for Japan in the 80th minute when Hamano won the ball deep in the opposing end before squaring a pass to KOBAYASHI Rikako, but the striker’s shot sailed over the crossbar. Two minutes later, Hamano struck a powerful shot from just inside the box, but her attempt was denied by the woodwork.
Despite creating numerous chances throughout the match, Japan was held scoreless to lose the match 0-1.
The Nadeshiko Japan will now travel to Nashville, Tennessee, where they will face the USA Women's National Team on Sunday 19 February.
Coach and Players' Comments
IKEDA Futoshi, Head Coach of Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team)
It is disappointing that we were held scoreless in this defeat. We had plenty of chances we should have taken advantage of, so we need to improve the quality of our plays in the final third. Nevertheless, we did manage to create chances and keep the ball moving against a formidable opponent like Brazil. We need to be able to score goals in order to win matches like these, so that is an aspect we need to work as a team. Through this match, we were able to see the progress we have made and the conditions of the players, and I applaud the way the players have prepared themselves leading up to this match.
DF #2 SHIMIZU Risa (West Ham United/England)
Although we were able to take the initiative and create some close chances, we allowed our opponents to capitalise on their few chances, which turned out to be the difference in this match, so we are very disappointed with this result. We conceded the goal from an errant pass that allowed our opponents to counter us. However, I personally felt like this was a match that really highlighted the strengths of the three-back formation, including the way we were able to make the most of (Hasegawa) Yu’s talent. It is important that we reflect back on this match in order to improve ourselves, but we also need to shift our focus on the next match, which will present us with a different challenge.
DF #5 MIYAKE Shiori (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
We had our chances but we ended up conceding a goal, which made it a tough match. There were times when we were able to possess the ball and create opportunities, particularly in the second half when our opponents were starting to slow down. However, I regret not being able to apply enough pressure to prevent Marta from creating that goal. It is truly great to be able to play against strong opponents, but I think the result is ultimately what matters. This match served as a timely reminder that we cannot just play these matches to gauge our strengths, but instead should strive to earn results.
FW #23 HAMANO Maika (Hammarby IF/Sweden)
I entered the match thinking that I need to score goals to help the team win. My coach told me to receive the ball on the move, instead of posting up in the centre. It was challenging to coordinate with everyone since I hadn't played with many of these players before. If I can get on the same page with everyone else, I think I can score more goals. I've always believed that football is not just about technical skill and that the mental side of the game is very important. I want to develop myself so that I can consistently give my best effort.
2023 SheBelieves Cup
Tournament Dates: Thu. 16 - Wed. 22 February 2023
Venue: Exploria Stadium, GEODIS Park, Toyota Stadium (USA)
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