Although history shows that the Nadeshiko and Canada are evenly matched, each holding a record of three wins, three draws and three defeats, their last fixture was played more than four years ago, prior to a Beijing Olympic Games in which the Japan women’s national football team went on to end the tournament in fourth place, while Canada exited at the quarter-final stage. That last meeting in March 2008 ended in a 3-0 defeat for Japan, and remains the joint largest aggregate loss suffered by the Nadeshiko since Norio Sasaki was appointed as manager, a scoreline unlikely to be repeated as the FIFA Women’s World Cup holders contest their first Group F fixture with the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup champions.
Both teams come into tomorrow’s match after mixed preparations, ten matches for both teams since February 2012 including defeats at the hands of France and the United States, with each winning six games. Perhaps the most notable of any of the sequences of results was that Japan claimed victory against fellow Group F team Sweden in June, the 1-0 win secured by Yuki Nagasato’s 28th minute goal, while Canada fell 3-1 in Malmo four months earlier, making it eleven defeats in fifteen matches against the Scandinavian side. While Japan should prove too strong for the Canadians, a group containing three of the seven highest ranked teams in the world will likely provide a third-ranked quarter-final entrant, and avoiding a potential knock-out tie predicted to feature either Brazil or the host nation is desirable. A close contest should be expected accordingly in the second sporting event to be played at the 2012 Games.
|17:00||Japan||vs||Canada||City of Coventry Stadium|
|19:45||Sweden||vs||South Africa||City of Coventry Stadium|
(All times BST)