The Press Round-up

(The first-half from the Young Nadeshiko’s Group C fixture versus England in the 2010 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, their only victory of a tournament from which they exited at the group stage, finishing third behind Mexico and Nigeria. Japan will once again meet Mexico in the group stage in the 2012 tournament, doing battle with El Tricolor at the Miyagi Stadium on 19 August. The second period can be viewed here)

In the biggest news of the day, Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund both announced separately that terms have been agreed for the transfer of the Bundesglia club and Japan international Shinji Kagawa to the English Premier League side. The Asahi Shimbun notes that while full details have not been disclosed, the expected transfer fee is in the region of £12 million, rising to a potential £18 million. The deal is subject to a medical and acquiring the necessary work permit for the UK, together with Kagawa formally signing the contact. While the attacking midfielder does not strictly meet the criteria necessary to obtain a work permit on the basis of not having made the requisite number of appearances for the Samurai Blue, it is expected to be a formality on ‘exceptional talent’ grounds.

The 23-year old Kobe native confirmed in remarks to reports at a training session in Saitama that he is yet to sign any contract, adding that he is not willing to discuss his own future and wants to focus instead on the national side and their two remaining 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches in June. Japan meet Jordan on Friday, before flying to Brisbane for the 12 June tie against Australia.

The Asahi Shimbun also reports that the Japan Football Association has announced a 21-strong squad for the Nadeshiko’s trip to Sweden, where they will participate in the 2012 Sweden Invitational. Japan will contest the round-robin tournament with their fellow London 2012 Group F rivals and the United States, who they will meet in a major final for the second time in as many years if the seedings for the competition hold true, having triumphed over Team USA in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Homare Sawa, who has fully recovered after being struck down with benign paroxysmal postural vertigo, is included in the travelling party together with 2011 AFC Women’s Player of the Year and captain Aya Miyama, while Ami Otaki receives her first call up to the senior team. The full squad is as follows:

GK Miho Fukumoto Okayama Yunogo Belle
GK Ayumi Kaihori INAC Leonessa
DF Yukari Kinga INAC Leonessa
DF Kyoko Yano Urawa Reds Ladies
DF Azusa Iwashimizu NTV Beleza
DF Aya Sameshima Montpellier HSC
DF Saori Ariyoshi NTV Beleza
DF Saki Kumagai 1. FFC Frankfurt
MF Homare Sawa INAC Leonessa
MF Aya Miyama Okayama Yunogo Belle
MF Nahomi Kawasumi INAC Leonessa
MF Megumi Kamionobe Albirex Niigata Ladies
MF Mizuho Sakaguchi NTV Beleza
MF Asuna Tanaka INAC Leonessa
MF Rumi Utsugi Montpellier HSC
FW Kozue Ando FCR 2001 Duisburg
FW Shinobu Ohno INAC Leonessa
FW Yuki Nagasato 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam
FW Ami Otaki Olympique Lyonnais
FW Megumi Takase INAC Leonessa
FW Mana Iwabuchi NTV Beleza

The Yomiuri Shimbun adds that the squad for the London 2012 Olympic Games will then need to be reduced to eighteen players, with those getting the nod for the trip to London to be decided by manager Norio Sasaki in early July.

Japan are set to play Mexico, Switzerland and New Zealand in the FIFA Women’s Under-20 World Cup. With Homare Sawa presiding over the draw, the Young Nadeshiko will begin their Group A campaign against Mexico on 19 August at the Miyagi Stadium, where they will meet New Zealand three days later, before playing the Swiss in their third and final group match at the National Olympic Stadium on 26 August. Should Japan progress to the quarter-final stage, they will meet one of Brazil, South Korea, Italy or Nigeria on 30 August. The World Cup final takes place on 8 September at the National Olympic Stadium.

And finally, Zdenko Verdenik is the new manager at Omiya Ardija. The 63-year old, who had spells in charge at JEF United, Nagoya Grampus and Vegalta Sendai between 2000 and 2004, remarked that he was delighted to be working at a J.League Division 1 club again, and will take the reins at the Squirrels prior to their Matchday Fourteen clash against Kashima Antlers on 16 June.


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