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“Nadeshiko Japan” winning their first World Cup



July 28, 2011


 Finally, the very first women’s FIFA World Cup championship team in East Asia was born. Team Japan and DPR Korea represent EAFF countries (regions) attended the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany from June 26 to July 17. In the final game, Japan women’s football team draw with top-ranked U.S women’s football team to the end to 120-minute match with scored 2-2 and won the game with penalty shootout, brought their first FIFA World Cup championship title back home.DPR Korea was eliminated in the group match in group C with a result one tie and two lost.

 Nadeshiko Japan’s captain SAWA Homare won the MVP title “adidas Golden Ball Award”, and also receive adidas Golden Boot Award for the best shooter with a total of five goals. She said: Nadeshiko Japan went through long period of time to receive the present result, to achieve the whole team’s goal, to won the world champion, I am really happy about that. MIYAMA Aya, the midfielder who scored 2 goals in the game, said: In all six games we played in the world cup, all team members were able to play to their strengths and unite as one team, I believe this is the reason for us winning the World Cup Champion. In 2008, Nadeshiko Japan received their first international championship title-East Asian women’s football Championship. In 2010, they won this title again as the defending champion. Winning the competition was quite important for Japan women’s football team. By winning the East Asian women’s championship twice, the team got the chance to play more world class matches, also shine in the World Cup and stand on the new highs for women’s football, said by their coach SASAKI Norio.
With third place in the qualify into the 2011 FIFA World Cup, Nadeshiko Japan stand the second place in Group B with 2 wins and 1 loss. In the competition against New Zealand, Aya Miyama secured the win with a free kick 2-1, and in the match with Mexico, Sawa secured 4-0 winning streak with her hat-trick. But the game with England was 0-2 defeated. Japan is ranked 4th in FIFA yet and England ranked 10th. This loss is a huge warning for Nadeshiko Japan who hoped to make qualify with a three straight win. But head coach SASAKI believes that because some problems were exposed in the game with England, there had been adjustment made in time. The team strengthens their mentality and again gets ready for more challenges in the rest of the matches.

 DPR Korea team made to best 8 in 2007 FIFA World Cup, and their goal this time is to get their World Cup Medals. DPR Korea team did their best while played against the runner-up U.S team and third place team Sweden. JO Yun Mi, the MVP of the qualifying games, and 2006 FIFA U-20 women’s world champion team player Ra Un Sim and Ri Un Hyang formed the core of the Korean women’s football team. In the match with U.S team, Ra Un Sim and Song Jong Sun’s excellent performance helped obtain advantage in the game. However, total of 13 chance of goal attempt did not help Korea defeat U.S team, eventually 0-2 lost to the U.S team. In the next game with Sweden, DPR Korea team still didn’t find good opportunity to score with Sweden’s tight defense. Although Goalkeeper Hong Myong Hui’s overall performance was excellent, DPR Korea still lost the game to Sweden with 0-1. Two lost in a row decided DPR Korea team’s fate in the result.
In the last group match against Colombia, DPR Korean team starts to positively attack with eager to win. Jo Yun Mi and Ra Un Sim had a good opportunity to score in the penalty zone, but still with no success. Ultimately 0-0 draws with Colombia and ended fourth World Cup journey with zero win.

 As the only team has made to the quarter-final from East Asia division, Japan was facing German who tries to have third consecutive win of World Cup. German team with a total 23 times of goal attempt (with Japan only 9)But Japan team with excellent team work kept the score 0-0 till the end of game. 3 minutes into the overtime in second half, Sawa Homare receive pass from Iwabuchi Mana, and pass behind the German team defense line. Maruyama Karina shoots and scored the winning goal with almost zero angles. In the pass against German 1 tie 7 lose did not reflect and give negative impact on Japan’s attitude, Nadeshiko Japan 1-0 took the victory, and enter the World Cup semi-final for the first time in history.

The momentum did not slow down after Japan defeated the defending champion Germany. In the Semi-final against Sweden, although Sweden scored 10 minutes in the first half due to Japan’s own mistake, but in the 19th minute MIYAMA Aya pass the ball from left field to KAWASUMI Nahomi, who was on the starting lineup for the first time Scored and tie the game.15 minutes into the second half, SAWA Homare received pass from SAMESHIMA Aya and scored with a head shoot, Japan take the lead. 19 minutes in KAWASUMI Nahomi scored again with a 30 meter long shoot, 3-1. Since 1999 after China women’s football, Japan women’s football represents East Asia once again broke into the women’s World Cup final after 12 years later.

Japan’s opponent in the final was the unbeatable United States. From the pass against U.S team, Japan tie 3 lost 21, so obviously many people thought there is disadvantage against U.S team. However Japan’s strong defense upset the U.S team’s rhythm. First half U.S team had several shot hitting the post, Japan team lucky enough to keep the scored 0-0 into the second half. 24 minutes into the second half, U.S team scored first goal to put Japan in the down side. In 36 minutes, NAGASATO Yuki break through from the right side of the field pass the ball to MIYAMA Aya, MIYAMA scored 1 goal and tied the game.1-1, into overtime, U.S team scored again in overtime, but didn’t let Japan give up easily. 12 minutes in into overtime, SAWA Homare ties the score again for the team, Japan showed the world no matter what kind of difficulties Japan never give up.
In the Penalty shootout, Goalkeeper KAIHORI Ayumi has become the star. She blocked U.S team first and third penalty kick. U.S team only scored one with four penalty kick. On the other side, Japan scored 2 with 3 penalty kick, KUMAGAI Saki scored the winning point of the fourth penalty kick, and won the World Championship with score 3-1. The blue Jersey, symbol of Japanese national team shined on the Germany Field.

 Three years right after Japan women’s team took the East Asian Women’s Championship; Japan has raise up and stood on the world’s first position. This team showed the world of high skill level women’s football in Germany. Nadeshiko Japan’s next target is to win the London Olympic Championship. SASAKI Norio said she was disappointed when Japan only made to the semi-final in 2008 Beijing Olympic. Olympic medal is significant for the Japan women’s football. After won the World Cup Japan women’s football team will adjust again, one step at a time to challenge next target.

PHOTO:Getty Images