Nadeshiko Japan ready to face first match and rewrite history at the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019
10 June 2019
On Sunday 9 June, one day before their first match of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 against Argentina Women’s National Team, the Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) held a training session in the morning, followed by an official press conference in the afternoon.
With the session opened to the media for the first 15 minutes, the players were seen going over the details of their tactics and combinations ahead of the big match. After working up a sweat in the one-hour session, the players seemed relaxed, as they all mentioned that they were excited to play at the world’s highest stage.
The official press conference was held at the match venue, Parc des Princes, in the afternoon. The team captain KUMAGAI Saki, who joined the podium with coach TAKAKURA Asako, described the first match, “anything can happen,” and mentioned that, “ahead of the match, I will tell my teammates to enjoy the moment and not be afraid of mistakes, because we’ve got each other’s back.”
Also, on this day, Japan’s Group D rivals, England and Scotland played each other. In the match, England managed to hang onto their lead after scoring two goals in the first half and won the match 2-1. Even for England, who is ranked 3rd in the FIFA rankings, seemed to struggle through their first match of the tournament.
After dinner, coach Takakura gathered the players to give a pep-talk ahead of the big tournament. She started off by telling them, “this may sound like a folk story to you, but I want you to listen,” as she told the history of Japan Women’s National Team. Before the team was called the “Nadeshiko Japan,” when they couldn’t win at the World Cups, couldn’t qualify for the Olympics, and how their struggles paid off when they finished fourth at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Their championship campaign at the 2011 World Cup in Germany, and the silver medals collected at the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2015 World Cup in Canada. She concluded her speech by telling her players, “only the players can weave history, and our job is to relay the baton that was passed down from our predecessors to the future generations.”
The Nadeshiko Japan will start their journey to reclaim their title when they face Argentina Women’s National Team at the first group stage match of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 on Monday 10 June at 18:00 local time (25:00 Japan time).
MF #14 HASEGAWA Yui (Nippon TV Beleza)
I am feeling very excited for our first match of the tournament, and I was able to stay relaxed for our training session today. After watching the tournament opener, I was getting a mixed feeling, because half of me wanted to play under a huge crowd like that, but the other half was worried that we would have a difficult time trying to make adjustments on the pitch in a situation like that. In order to advance through to the knockout stage as the group leaders, the first match will be a pivotal match for us. The result of the match will either give us great momentum or cast a long shadow for the remainder of the tournament, so we hope to get off to a good start. I will focus on enjoying the moment, while showcasing a performance that can entertain the viewers of our match.
FW #20 YOKOYAMA Kumi (AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies)
By winning the first match, we can bring a positive vibe to the team, so I will give my very best to win the match in front of us. If we can make a deep run in this tournament, we can play in front of a huge crowd, so we hope to make that to reality. We will enter the match with the pride and responsibility of the Japan National Team and showcase a good performance on the pitch to get off to a good start.
FW #13 TAKARADA Saori (Cerezo Osaka Sakai Ladies)
I am a bit nervous, but more than anything, I am very excited. The matches have been attracting many people to the stadiums, so I am looking forward to play under a wonderful atmosphere. As a forward, I hope to showcase my strengths by penetrating the space behind the opposing defence line and combine with my teammates to score goals against Argentina.
FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019
Tournament Dates: Fri. 7 June - Sun. 7 July 2019
Tue. 11 June 2019 01:00 (Japan time)
vs Argentina Women's National Team
Fri. 14 June 2019 22:00 (Japan time)
vs Scotland Women's National Team
Thu. 20 June 2019 04:00 (Japan time)
vs England Women's National Team
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