The Press Round-up

(The US Women’s national football team defeated reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup holders Japan 4-1 in the Sweden Invitational tournament on 18 June, a clash heavily anticipated to be the showpiece at London 2012)

The Nadeshiko crashed to a 4-1 defeat against the United States women’s national team in Halmstad, Sweden, the first of their two matches in the 2012 Sweden Invitational tournament. While the US dominated the contest, firing nine of their seventeen shots on target compared to just two in nine for Japan, the physicality of the US team raised eyebrows, with the friendly nature of the competition undermined by a number of challenges which would ordinarily have met with cards, one ending Rumi Utsugi’s participation in the match as she was stretchered off the field.

Two goals apiece from Alex Morgan and Andy Wambach gave the US all three points, Yuki Nagasato the scorer of Japan’s only goal in a match which is a prelude to the likely 2012 London Olympic final. The Nadeshiko conclude their time in Sweden against the hosts on 20 June.

The Asahi Shimbun reports that the utility defender Hajime Hosogai, whose loan at FC Augsburg ends on June 15, has made it clear that he wishes to fight for a position at Bayer Leverkusen. The 28-year old, who joined the Werkself at the end of 2010 from Urawa Red Diamonds, was promptly loaned out to the Markus Weinzierl side which finished in fourteenth position in the Bundesliga, and made 32 appearances in the 2011/12 season, scoring three goals.

Ricardo Lobo is on his way to J.League Division 2 side JEF United Chiba in a loan deal from Kashiwa Reysol, notes the Sankei Shimbun. The 28-year old Brazilian striker has failed to make an impression at the Sun Kings since his move from Tochigi SC, unable to displace either Junya Tanaka or Masato Kudo in manager Nelsinho’s affections as they strive to defend the title won in 2011, making only four starts in seven appearances. The deal runs until the end of the calendar year.

In an attempt to lift themselves out of trouble near the bottom of J.League Division 1, seventeenth-placed Gamba Osaka have turned to former forward Leandro to score the goals that will help stave off relegation, adds the Sankei Shimbun. The striker from São Paulo was successful in his time at the Suita club prior to his move to Saudi Arabian giants Al-Sadd in 2009, adding to prosperous times at Vissel Kobe and Montedio Yamagata, and the 27-year old returns to Gamba on a loan deal worth approximately JPY 200m , with the contract expiring in July 2013. The logic of the move is questionable, however, a slip-shod defence clear the most glaring priority for Masanobu Matsunami having shipped fourteen goals in their last seven matches at home and showing little sign of transformation since the Gamba legend took control.

And finally, Hisato Sato is the new President of the Professional Football Players Association, elected to a two-year term on 18 June as Toshiya Fujita’s position expired. The timing of the announcement came as the Sanfrecce Hiroshima forward was publicly reprimanded for statements made regarding a referee’s performance, and required to submit a formal apology for calling the official ‘crazy’ as part of his punishment.

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