なでしこジャパン (Japan Women’s National Team) 4 ブラジル (Brazil) 1

(Highlights of the final match of the 2012 Women’s Kirin Challenge Cup, contested by Japan, the United States and Brazil. The Nadeshiko beat Brazil 4-1 on 5 April to win the competition on goals scored from the US)

The final match of the inaugural Women’s Kirin Challenge Cup saw the reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup holders take on Brazil at the Home’s Stadium in Kobe. Japan held an advantage over the Brazilian side having had four days to recover from the exertions of their 1-1 draw with the United States on 1 April, while the Seleção had just 48 hours to recuperate following their 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Americans.

The Nadeshiko made easy work of the Brazilian side, although the visitors should really have taken the lead when Christiane found space between Kyoko Yano and Aya Sameshima to head a cross well wide of the right post from just eight yards. The advantage was Japan’s after quarter of an hour, though the goal came from successive errors in defence. Captain Aya Miyama launched a free-kick from close to the halfway line to the penalty spot, but a header from Daiane put captain Aline under pressure and she subsequently headed into her own net.

The home side had several opportunities to go further in front, first Miyama finding Kozue Ando 25 yards from goal, but her well-struck shot dropped safely into the hands of the waiting Andréia, before Miyama then found Nahomi Kawasumi on the edge of the penalty area, and allowed to turn she fired a shot beyond the reach of Andréia but just over the crossbar.

Brazil’s only goal came courtesy of a perfectly executed free-kick from Daniele, the Vasco de Gama forward, into first-half stoppage time. One yard outside the penalty area and slightly to the left of the D, she bent her shot around the wall and into the bottom right hand corner, but Miho Fukuomoto will want to reconsider her own positioning and that of the defensive line in future.

Into the second-half and Miyama continued to pull strings in the midfield, and it was no surprise that her 58th minute corner would result in Japan’s second goal, a beautifully weighted cross being met by substitute Yuki Nagasato, whose run across goal took her in front of Rosana and allowed her to plant her header into the bottom left corner.

Miyama was rewarded with the third goal, a lovely interchange of passes allowing Kawasumi to break down the left wing and pull back a cross for Nagasato. The amount of time and space allowed by the Brazilian defence was of no concern to the 24-year old, who controlled, turned and shot, and although Andréia got down low to parry, the rebound was smashed home gleefully by the captain.

Brazil came closest to reducing the deficit with a spectacular volley from Érika, Fukumoto doing well to reach a shot with her fingertips which was dipping under the crossbar. Japan, however, wrapped up the tie and secured the Women’s Kirin Challenge Cup with their fourth of the match, Yumi Uetsuji releasing Yukari Kinga down the right flank, and her low cross into the penalty area was diverted into the net by a sliding Yukia Sugasawa.

2012 Women’s Kirin Challenge Cup Table

Position Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Japan 2 1 1 0 5 2 +3 4
2 United States 2 1 1 0 4 1 +3 4
3 Brazil 2 0 0 2 1 7 -6 0
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