【Match Report】U-20 Japan Women's National Team defeat Brazil to get one step away from making history
26 August 2022
On Thursday 25 August, the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Costa Rica 2022™ semi-finals took place at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, where the U-20 Japan Women's National Team faced the U-20 Brazil Women’s National Team.
Facing a Brazilian side who had not conceded a single goal in this tournament, Japan made one change from their quarterfinal match against France, as FUJINO Aoba was named into the starting line-up. The match started with Japan showing great tempo to keep the ball moving against the organised defence displayed by Brazil. With OYAMA Aemu delivering high quality passes from the midfield, HAMANO Maika and YAMAMOTO Yuzuki each had a close opportunity in the sixth and 25th minutes respectively.
Japan’s attack minded approach came to fruition in the 30th minute, when Yamamoto responded to a loose ball at the edge of the box and struck a pinpoint shot that captured the corner of the Brazilian goal.
Having conceded their first goal of the tournament, Brazil came back rallying towards the end of the first half. A close opportunity was created in the 44th minute, when a corner kick nearly ended up in the Japanese goal, but OBA Shu was able to parry the ball over the crossbar.
Riding the momentum they have built at the end of the first half, Brazil shifted their formation to add more layers to their offence, which led to the 55th minute equaliser scored by CRIS, who struck a superb shot from distance that ricocheted off the hand of Oba and the crossbar before finding the back of the net. Two minutes later, Brazil came close to taking the lead when YAYA received the ball inside the box before firing a shot that nearly captured the net, but SUGISAWA Mihoshi was there just in time to clear the ball. Japan gave up another opportunity in the 67th minute, but this time the shot was saved by Oba.
Japan’s persistent defensive efforts were paid off in the 84th minute, when Yamamoto displayed a spectacular individual effort to control the ball and send a lobbing through ball that allowed Hamano to break into the box. With Brazilian goalkeeper Gabi BARBIERI stepping out to make the save, the Japanese striker calmly lifted the ball over her head to send the ball into the net.
With this goal ending up becoming the decisive goal, Japan advanced to their second straight U-20 Women’s World Cup final, where they will face Spain, who also reached the final for the second time in a row.
Coach and Players' Comments
IKEDA Futoshi, Head Coach of U-20 Japan Women's National Team
Despite facing a very solid Brazilian side, our players did well to prepare themselves within the time they had and played hard throughout the match. The players also communicated well on the pitch and have shown that they have matured over the course of this tournament. Even when we were being dominated, they kept on telling each other to focus on keeping possession of the ball and managed to score the second goal. We would like to encourage the players to improve their individual skills, including the duels in the midfield, battles to win the second ball, and how we defend against skilled dribblers. This team has taken on many challenges, and we are looking forward to playing the final against Spain in our route to defend the World Cup title.
GK ＃18 OBA Shu (East Tennessee State University/USA)
We knew Brazil were coming into the match with great momentum, but we too were determined to win the match to reach the final. I feel like I was able to work in tandem with our defence to limit the opponent’s options in the final third. I was anticipating for our opponents to take advantage of their height, so I focused on keeping my position higher than usual. The tides completely shifted towards Brazil when we conceded the equaliser, but we managed to endure those tough times and gradually regain our momentum. I wasn’t expecting a toe-poke when we conceded the goal. However, I feel like I could have made the save if I had positioned myself higher. We have worked hard as a team throughout the tournament, so we hope to give our all in the final and take home the title.
FW ＃9 YAMAMOTO Yuzuki (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza)
When I scored the opening goal, I first thought of hitting it with my right foot, but when I saw the opposing defenders closing in, I made the decision to cut it back and hit it with my left. I knew where I wanted to place it, so I just focused on staying on top of the ball. The equaliser came from my mistake in offence, and I was determined to redeem myself with another goal, so I am glad I was able to assist the last goal. The fact that our defence played tenaciously throughout the match helped us tremendously, and I feel like this win came from a total team effort. This team has gotten better as the competition has increased. We hope to play with confidence while respecting our opponents in the final.
FW ＃11 HAMANO Maika (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
After conceding the equaliser, I was determined to help the team by scoring a goal, which led me to that goal. I had felt that we were against an aggressive goalkeeper, so I was able to keep my composure to lift the ball when (Yamamoto) Yuzuki-san delivered that pass to me. Perhaps it was the adrenaline that kept me going, but the fact that everyone was running hard also helped me throughout the match. We learned from our match against France where we conceded a late goal and managed to stay focused until the final whistle. We are expecting another tough match at the final, so we will focus on recovering ourselves and prepare ahead of our match against Spain.
FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Costa Rica 2022™
Tournament Dates: Wed. 10 - Sun. 28 August 2022
1st Match: Thu. 11 August 14:00 vs U-20 Netherlands Women's National Team
2nd Match: Sun. 14 August 11:00 vs U-20 Ghana Women's National Team
3rd Match: Wed. 17 August 17:00 vs U-20 USA Women's National Team
Quarterfinals: Sun. 21 August 20:00 vs U-20 France Women’s National Team
Semi-finals: Thu. 25 August 20:00 vs U-20 Brazil Women’s National Team
Final: Sun. 28 August 20:00 vs U-20 Spain Women’s National Team
*Time shown in local time
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