On Friday 13 April, Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) squared off against the tournament favourites, Australia Women's National Team in the third match of the AFC Women's Asian Cup. With both teams registering a win and a draw after two matches, a spot in the semi-finals as well as the FIFA Women's World Cup was at stake, making this a must win match for both teams. The match opened with the Australian side utilising their speed to attack, while Japan fought hard to defend.
Australia penetrated the Japanese vital area from side-attacks and counter-attacks. With KUMAGAI Saki and ICHISE Nana in the centre, SHIMIZU Risa on the right, and SAMESHIMA Aya at left back defended well using their body. The Japanese defence line kept their cool, as they applied pressure accordingly, utilising multiple numbers at times, while responding well in one-on-one situations as well. With the defenders playing solid, the forwards SUGASAWA Yuika and IWABUCHI Mana showed no hesitation pressing up front.
Japan’s first chance came in the 35th minute when NAKAJIMA Emi delivered the ball towards Shimizu who was running up the line. Shimizu crossed the ball directly, and the ball was deflected by an Australian defender, giving Japan their first corner kick of the match, but this corner kick would also be denied. During additional time of the first half, Japan would give up consecutive corner kicks, but kept a clean sheet for the half, just as they have planned......
＞＞READ MORE "JAPAN FA"