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U-17 Japan Women’s National Team advances to Quarterfinals as group leaders at FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018

21 November 2018

U-17 Japan Women’s National Team advances to Quarterfinals as group leaders at FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018

On Tuesday 20 November, the U-17 Japan Women’s National Team faced the U-17 Mexico Women’s National Team in their third group stage match of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018.

With the team in position to secure the top spot of Group B with a tie or better, Japan rotated four players from their starting line-up against South Africa.

Japan entered the match by taking control of the match through their ball possession but failed to create a goal scoring opportunity against Mexico’s compact midfield.

In the 21st minute, ITO Sara struck a shot after receiving a pass from NAKAO Momo, but her attempt was saved by the opposing goalkeeper. With Mexico in position to advance through to the final round with a tie or better, they also made efforts to create chances, but the Japanese defence showcased a solid performance to keep them from taking a single shot.

The long-awaited goal came in the 40th minute, when GOTO Wakaba intercepted the ball deep in the opposing territory. KINOSHITA Momoka collected the ball and carried the ball up before striking a left-footed shot just out side of the box that captured the left corner of the goal.

In the second half, Japan brought in TAKIZAWA Chise in place for the team captain MATSUDA Shino, as they kept on attacking the opposing end. Although they delivered many quality balls upfront, the team struggled to convert their opportunities. In the 50th minute, KAMIYA Chiina came close to capitalising a loose ball in front of the goal, only to see her effort getting blocked by the goalkeeper.

While Japan struggled to extend their lead, Mexico struck the equaliser in the 63rd minute, when Anette VAZQUEZ delivered a cross towards the centre. YOSHIZUMI Warai fought for the ball, but it was Mexico’s Alison GONZALEZ who won the ball, as her header captured the Japanese goal to level the match at one goal apiece.

With momentum on their side, Mexico came close to taking the lead in the 69th minute, when Gonzalez struck a shot from a loose ball in front of the Japanese goal, but Goto was there to block the shot. Despite the Japanese side conceding many opportunities from their own mistakes, they managed to keep the score intact by staying persistent in their defence. Japan had their opportunity to win the match in the 83rd minute, when Kamiya struck a shot within the penalty area, but her attempt was denied by a superb save made by the Mexican goalkeeper.

Although they failed to win the match, Japan secured their top spot of their group with a 1-1 tie against Mexico. Kinoshita was named as the player of the match after scoring the opening goal of the match.

The U-17 Japan Women’s National Team will now face the U-17 New Zealand Women’s National Team, who finished as the runners-up of Group A, in the quarterfinal match scheduled on Saturday 24 November.

Players’ Comments

DF #14 YOSHIZUMI Warai (CEREZO OSAKA SAKAI LADIES)
Although we scored the opening goal today, we gave up the equaliser later on, so that was a bit unfortunate. However, we still managed to win out of the group stage as the group leader, so that was great. We have been able to stay vocal and stay on the same page when applying pressure to the ball and making a move upfront. We still need to do a better job converting the opportunities in the final third. As a defender, I wasn’t able to respond well against the opponent’s long balls, so I need to make the adjustments in that aspect. I personally would like to get myself more involved in our offence. We will learn from this experience and utilise it to win the world title.

MF #16 KINOSHITA Momoka (Nippon TV Menina)
I am happy that we managed to advance through the group stage as the leader, but with a record of one win and two draws, we feel like we could have earned more wins. The group stage made us realise that we still have lots to work on. Reflecting back on the goal scene, when I received the ball from Goto, my initial touch was too long, but I managed to keep possession of the ball and struck the ball well when I saw the goal. As a defensive midfielder, I had many regrets in our match against Brazil, but I was able to hold onto the ball a bit more against South Africa. The way we utilise the width of the field by connecting the ball from our defensive midfielders is a strong pattern of ours, and we hope to build on that style to score more goals. We couldn’t win the match today, but we must find ways to win the match in the final round. Although we will enter the knockout stage, we must stay relaxed and perform our style of football while enjoying the moment.

MF #10 NAKAO Momo (JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies U-18)
Although we managed to achieve our goal of advancing to the final round, it is very disappointing that we conceded the equaliser and failed to win the match. We will feed off of this bitter experience and do a better job at the knockout stage. Our opponents were well organised in their defence and it they made it difficult to play against, but there were occasions where we broke through by utilising one touches and won the one-on-one battels. However, our support for the attacking players were too slow, and there was too much space between our midfielders and forwards. From here on, the plays and shots that encourages the team will be essential, especially during those though stretches. I personally will focus on collecting the loose balls and stay keen to take more shots. We will give our very best as a team to win through the tough matches.

Schedule

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018
Sun. 11 - Mon. 12 November AM/PM Training
Tue. 13 November 0-0 1st Group Stage Match vs Brazil
(Estadio Domingo Burgueño Miguel)
Wed. 14 - Thu. 15 November AM/PM Training
Fri. 16 November 6-0 2nd Group Stage Match vs South Africa
(Estadio Domingo Burgueño Miguel)
Sat. 17 - Mon. 19 November AM/PM Training
Tue. 20 November 1-1 3rd Group Stage Match vs Mexico
(Estadio Domingo Burgueño Miguel)
Wed. 21 - Fri. 23 November AM/PM Training
Sat. 24 November 17:00 Quarterfinals vs New Zealand
(Estadio Profesor Alberto Suppici)
Sun. 25 November TBC TBC
Mon. 26 - Tue. 27 November AM/PM Training
Wed. 28 November 16:00/19:00 Semi-Finals (Estadio Charrúa)
Thu. 29 - Fri. 30 November AM/PM Training
Sat. 1 December 16:00/19:00 3rd Place Match/Final (Estadio Charrúa)

*Local time
*The schedule is subject to change due to the team condition, the weather, etc.

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018

Tournament Dates: Tue. 13 November - Sat. 1 December 2018
Quarterfinals: Sat. 24 November 17:00 (Sun. 25 November 5:00 Japan time) vs New Zealand
TV Broadcasting: Live at Fuji Television NEXT

Tournament Information

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