Sunday, 24 Feb 2008  Chongqing, China PR Yongchuan Stadium

China PR
China PR 0 0-1
3 Japan
                                     19min. 11/OHNO Shinobu
42min. 11/OHNO Shinobu
55min. 16/NAGASATO Yuki

Japan easily beat hosts, China PR 3-0 to claim their first title.

The winner of the last game of the tournament between China PR and Japan would be crowned champions. In the end Japan won 3-0 and claim their first championship win in top class football.

The match was a real back-and-forth affair with each team attacking the other’s goal positively. OHNO Shinobu who has played up front in the last two games, started in left MF and created a lot of chances, right MF KINGA Yukari was right SB in this match demonstrating Japan’s will to attack from all positions. Straight after the whistle blew, ARAKAWA Eriko passed to FW NAGASATO Yuki who took a left footed shot. Then in the 4th minute OHNO’s pass to NAGASATO again resulted in a shot. Japan’s star striker ARAKAWA held the ball up and time after time created shooting opportunities.
China PR, on the other hand, attacked using the speed of HAN Duan and XU Yuan who both scored in each of the last two games. Both forwards used their pace to supply crosses into the box. But the high speed play of Japan resulted in a lot of errors. China PR were cheered on by a full house of 25,000 supporters all urging them on goal wards but it was Japan who opened the scoring in the 19th minute. NAGASATO broke down the right and crossed “I knew she would cross it to the near post” said OHNO who met the cross at the near post to score. Then in the 27th minute Japan’s SAWA Homare broke free dribbling on the right and went into the box.
HAN Duan seized on to a missed pass by Japan and broke on a counter attack only for her last pass to go astray. In the 36th minute ZHOU Gaoping switched play and XIE Caixia played a through ball to XU Yuan who met it with her head. But the shot went to the left of the goal.
As China PR proved unable to find an equalizer, Japan kept on creating chances. And then in the 42nd minute SAWA’s left footed long range shot hit the post and OHNO was on hand to tap in the rebound for her second of the day which stretched the lead to 2-0.

As the second half got under way, China PR experimented with pushing their volante players forwards but Japan pulled further ahead. In the 55th minute OHNO put a perfect cross on to NAGASATO’s head. NAGASATO headed in for the goal to make it 3-0 to Japan. China PR’s defensive leader 21 year old ZHANG Yanru kept his team alive time after time but time was running out and the attackers weren’t creating chances. In the 88th minute XU Yuan went past a defender and put GUO Yue through on goal but recent debutant DF IKEDA Hiromi stopped the attack. China PR had 4 shots and no goals. Japan finished with 3 wins from 3 games to win their first ever major championship title.

In winning this tournament Japan used all of their squad, a record 20 players, and Coach SASAKI Norio said with a sense of satisfaction “My team has just given me a very good performance. Our aim was to deny our opposition possession of the ball and be attack focused. We still have a lot to work on but looking back having beaten a high quality team like China PR 3-0, I think we have done very well”. China PR Coach Elisabeth LOISEL quickly set her sights on the next target saying “The results of the games were bad but we are showing the results of some good recent training camps. Too many errors which led to giving up goals cost us and I think we need to use the time before the Beijing Olympics to improve”.

Text by YOSHIDA Taro




Official Records