Final two goals see Japan into 3rd place, and host country China PR in 4th place in the tournament.
Hoping for a win, host nation China PR began the game with a line-up identical to the one used in their game against DPR Korea. Japan, who had also lost their last two matches, entered the match with the addition of experienced forward TAKASE MEGUMI and its well-conditioned players.
Skilfully building up from the rear and involving striking by SUGITA AMI, side-halves ARIMACHI SAORI and NAKAJIMA EMI constantly received.
On the other hand, China PR had a triple layered wall of defence in waiting, stealing the ball and swiftly moving up the field with HAN PENG and WANG SHANSHAN in counterattacks that lead to shots.
A free kick on goal by Japan’s SUGITA was saved single-handedly by China PR goalkeeper WANG FEI before bouncing off the post and back into play.
After half an hour of play, China PR mounted a clever attack on the Japanese side by continually cutting their passes. However, clearances and obstructions posed by TANAKA ASUNA and MURAMATSU TOMOKO prevented China PR’s efforts from bearing fruit, allowing the team to quash China PR’s push for goal during its peak in game rhythm and performance.
In the second half, Japan retained its 4-4-2 formation. However, manager SASAKI replaced TAKASE with SUGASAWA, a gifted player in the air.
Moreover, SUGITA was moved from defensive midfield to left-side, making NAKAJIMA EMI (right side-half) defensive midfielder, and ARIMACHI SAORI right side-half – a complete shift in pitch positioning.
The results of that shift began to show after the 50th minute of the game, when more and more chances were created. In the 60th minute a faraway but free KAWAMURA tried to score from a cross by ARIMACHI.
The ball hit the post for the second time. China PR increased its attacking capabilities by substituting GU YASHA, and then LIU JUN and a speedy attacker into the match.
The game now saw some fiery defending and attacking, with Japan still high up on the pitch.
In the 84th minute a steal allowed Japan substitute YOKOYAMA KUMI to capitalise on the opportunity by making her way into the penalty area for a close encounter with the goalkeeper and a close range shot that was saved by the keeper.
However, in the 88th minute SUGITA received the ball from NAKAJIMA with a through pass that found YOKOYAMA in the same scenario. This time she scored.
A further counterattack from a backward pass by SUGASAWA gave SUGITA the chance to exhibit a flaming middle range shot that gave Japan its second goal and a two point lead. With a squad vastly differently from that seen in the Canada World Cup, the Japan team decorated its last game with a long-sought victory.