VANCOUVER: Japan gave newcomers, the Netherlands, a lesson in football on Tuesday, winning 2-1 to advance to a last-eight showdown with Australia at the Women’s World Cup.
Saori Ariyoshi and Mizuho Sakaguchi scored in either half for the defending champions who are the only team left in Canada to have won all their matches.
Kirsten Van de Ven headed in a consolation goal for the 12th-ranked Dutch in injury time, helped by an error from Japanese goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori, who let the ball slip from her grasp.
But the game in Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium was mostly one-way traffic in favour of the Japanese, who have mastered the speed provided by artificial turf being used for the first time at a World Cup.
“It’s the best way to improve, a good team will learn a lot from this match,” said Dutch coach Roger Reijners. “You’re playing against the top teams in the world and things are moving really fast. It’s an enormous difficulty, you have very little space with a team like Japan. When you did get the ball they quickly took it back.”
The in-form Japanese next head to Edmonton where they take on tenth-ranked Australia, who shocked Brazil to win 1-0 in the Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday.
“We’re used to playing Australia,” said coach Norio Sasaki . “But Australia now is a completely different team, they have improved a lot and are technically superior.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2015.
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