Nadeshiko Japan draws against Argentina in first match of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019
11 June 2019
On Monday 10 June, the Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) played their first match of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 against Argentina Women’s National Team.
In the match played at Parc des Princes, the starting line-up for Japan featured YAMASHITA Ayaka in goal, with KUMAGAI Saki, MINAMI Moeka, SAMESHIMA Aya, and SHIMIZU Risa forming the defence line. SUGITA Hina and MIURA Narumi played the defensive midfield role, while HASEGAWA Yui and NAKAJIMA Emi were positioned in the flanks. SUGASAWA Yuika and YOKOYAMA Kumi were named as the two forwards playing upfront.
It was Argentina who initiated the action through their long balls in the early minutes of the match, but Japan gradually took control by applying tight pressure from the front line. The Japanese players gave little space for Argentina to work with and forced turnovers at high positions. Consecutive opportunities were created from their side attacks in the ninth and tenth minute, but Japan failed to capitalise on their chances. Japan continued to threaten the Argentinian goal through Yokoyama’s attempt with her dribble and the mid-range shot taken by Miura, but their efforts fell short from capturing the goal. In defence, the back line led by the two centre halves, Kumagai and Minami, kept Argentina from creating any major threats. With both sides failing to come up with a goal, the match entered halftime scoreless.
In efforts to break the deadlock, Japan applied more pressure from their front line in the second half. In the 50th minute, Yokoyama struck a shot from distance that caught the opposing goalkeeper off guards. It was Sugasawa who made the run to make an attempt to convert the deflection off the goalkeeper, but her shot went over the cross bar. A golden opportunity was created just two minutes later, when Shimizu chased the ball delivered by Yokoyama to send a cross towards the box. Sugita made a deceptive run towards the ball before running through the delivery to allow Hasegawa to take a shot inside the box, but her attempt sailed wide from the target. Japan utilised their substitutions to change the dynamics of the match, as IWABUCHI Mana and ENDO Jun were introduced to the match, but Argentina showcased great persistency to keep the clean sheet intact.
It was announced that the attendance for this match was 25,055. For many of the players, this was the largest crowd they have ever played in front of. Japan made their final efforts by bringing in TAKARADA Saori, who made her national team debut, on the 89th minute, but after four minutes of additional time, the match ended in a scoreless draw.
After earning one point in their first group stage match, the Nadeshiko Japan will now face the Scotland Women’s National Team on Friday 14 June at 15:00 local time (22:00 Japan time).
Coach and Players' Comments
TAKAKURA Asako, Coach of Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team)
We entered the match with a strong intention to earn three points, but with Argentina dropping deep to defend their goal, we lacked the necessary power to break through the solid block created by our opponents in the first half. Knowing that we weren’t giving enough efforts to score a goal, I told my players to play more aggressively during halftime. I feel like we managed to show more intensity towards the goal in the second half, but we weren’t able to change the pace and ended up playing with our opponent’s rhythm. The World Cup does not always end up in order of the FIFA rankings, and considering that it was our first match of the tournament, we just have to take this one-point positively and prepare ourselves ahead of the next match.
GK #18 YAMASHITA Ayaka (Nippon TV Beleza)
We weren’t able to effectively possess the ball today and that has led to this result. Although we were able to force turnovers, we weren’t using the width of the field enough and we tended to choose difficult passes rather than keeping it simple. It seemed like both the passer and the receiver lacked creativity. If Scotland was watching our match today, they would feel relieved and enter the next match with great confidence. If that’s the case, that’s a result of our poor performance, so we need to take responsibility and win the next match whatever it takes in order to advance to the knockout stage.
FW #13 TAKARADA Saori (Cerezo Osaka Sakai Ladies)
With this being my first World Cup, I was so excited when the coach called my name. I wasn’t feeling as nervous as I thought, and I managed to enter the match pretty relaxed. Before entering the pitch, I was told form the coach that, “we don’t have much time left, so don’t hesitate to take a shot.” We ended up drawing the match, but we should take this result positively. I hope I can score a goal in our next match against Scotland. Even if I am given a limited time to play, I will take as many shots as possible to help out the team win the match.
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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