FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup Semi-Final: Japan v. Germany


An outstanding Germany side proved too strong for the Young Nadeshiko as they scored three goals without reply in the semi-final of the Under-20 Women’s World Cup, Japan suffering the worst possible start as they conceded inside the first minute. Hikaru Naomoto, surrounded by Kathrin Hendrich, Nicole Rolser and Lena Lotzen close to the left touchline was forced to relinquish possession, and Dzsenifer Marozsán’s superb close control enable her to evade the attentions of Nozomi Fujita before playing a wonderful through-ball for Melanie Leupolz to slot past Sakiko Ikeda.

Against a side which has readily capitalised on mistakes made by their opponents during this tournament, Japan could ill afford the sort of basic errors which led to Germany scoring their second and third goals with only twenty minutes elapsed in the match.

Defender Leonie Maier swivelled on halfway and hit a long, hopeful pass towards Japan’s penalty area. Shiori Kinoshita misjudged the flight of the ball and failed to connect properly with her clearing header, allowing Marozsán, once more showing excellent technique, to lob the advancing Ikeda.

With referee Lucila Venegas showing little interest in attempting to correct an at times overly-aggressive approach taken by the reigning Under-20 World Cup holders, Japan were poorly matched physically, and the third goal put the result beyond doubt. At a outswinging corner delivered from the right both Hikari Takagi and Kinoshita were drawn to the ball and the the dangerous Luisa Wensing, but neither were alert to the presence of Lena Lotzen, and unmarked she headed her sixth goal of the competition.

The addition of Kumi Yokoyama and Ayaka Michigami contributed to a more evenly-matched second period, but an exceptional German rearguard provided further evidence of why it is yet to breached, limiting Japan largely to half-chances and setting a tournament record for the most minutes played without conceding a goal. It will come as little surprise if Germany repeat their 3-0 Group D victory over the United States when they meet again in the final.

Japan will face Nigeria in the Third Place play-off, to be played at the National Olympic Stadium on 8 September, kick-off 15:30 JST.

0 Germany
Leupolz 1′
Marozsán 13′
Lotzen 19′

(Match played 4 September 2012)


Japan Women’s Under-20 v Germany Women’s Under-20 – Five Thoughts

The Young Nadeshiko meet Germany in the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup semi-final on 4 September, and the current holders of the Under-20 title and 2011 European Under-19 championship will pose the sternest challenge yet of Japan’s title credentials. Ahead of would should be an enthralling contest, here are five areas which could prove crucial in deciding which side advances to the final:

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FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup Quarter-Final: Japan v. South Korea


The Young Nadeshiko are through to the semi-finals of the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup following a very convincing victory against South Korea. Hanae Shibata once again justified her selection ahead of Kumi Yokoyama, first beating Jeon Ha-Neul to a superb Asuka Nishikawa pass to roll the ball past the goalkeeper into the empty net, and then scoring her second with a sumptuous twenty yard finish, which came after excellent build-up play on the right and a delightful pass from Mina Tanaka.

In between Shibata’s goals, Jeoun Eun-Ha had levelled the scores for South Korea, Lee Geum-Min’s trickery on the left enabling her to evade the attentions of Hikari Takagi and float a cross for an unmarked Jeoun to head home from six yards. Yōko Tanaka, however, took her tally to five in the competition eight minutes before half-time. Takagi exchanged passes with Mina Tanaka before driving to the by-line, and her pull back provided the INAC Kobe Leonessa midfielder with the simplest of finishes from six yards.

Japan will meet Germany in the semi-final, to be played on 4 September at the National Olympic Stadium, kick-off 19:30 JST.

Shibata 8′, 19′
Tanaka Y 37′
3 South Korea
Jeoun E-H 15′

(Match played 30 August 2012)

FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup: Group A MD3 Results and Table


A thoroughly one-sided 4-0 victory for Japan contained two expertly taken free-kicks by Yōko Tanaka, scoring first with her right foot and then placing the second set piece into the opposite corner of the goal with her left. The midfielder was outstanding in a match where several players shone for the Young Nadeshiko, Kumi Yokoyama’s vision and individual skill matched by the touch and technique of Hikaru Naomoto, while Hanae Shibata’s movement and late runs across midfield proved very difficult for the Swiss defence to track. The victory would have been even more comprehensive save for the superb goalkeeping of Nadine Böni and a number of shots finding the woodwork, and Japan end Group A in first place. Japan will face South Korea in the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup quarter-final, to be played on 30 August at the National Olympic Stadium, kick-off 19:30 JST.

Huerta 47′
Gómez-Junco 74′
Franco 85′
Jiménez 87′
4 New Zealand
Tanaka Y 30′, 47′
Nishikawa 52′
Naomoto 84′ (pen.)
4 Switzerland

(Matches played 26 August 2012)

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
Japan 3 2 1 0 10 3 +7 7
Mexico 3 2 0 1 7 4 +3 6
New Zealand 3 1 1 1 4 7 -3 4
Switzerland 3 0 0 3 1 8 -7 0

FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup: Group A MD2 Results and Table


The Young Nadeshiko conceded two poor goals within the first quarter of an hour against New Zealand, including Ayu Nakada finding her own net, in the second of their Group A games at the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup. A vastly superior Japan team, who had eleven shots on target to New Zealand’s two and dominated across all key areas, recovered through goals from Yōko Tanaka and Ayaka Michigami, but could not find a third to ensure qualification for the quarter-finals with a match to spare. Japan will progress to the latter stages of the tournament with a draw or better in their final group match against a Switzerland side which has scored just once in the competition to date.

Huerta 46′
Jimenez 90’+1
2 Switzerland
Tanaka Y 37′
Michigami 71′
2 New Zealand
Nakada (O.G.) 11′
White 15′

(Matches played 22 August 2012)

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
Japan 2 1 1 0 6 3 +3 4
New Zealand 2 1 1 0 4 3 +1 4
Mexico 2 1 0 1 3 4 -1 3
Switzerland 2 0 0 2 1 4 -3 0

FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup: Group A MD1 Results and Table


(Coverage of the opening day’s matches at the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, including a strong performance from the Young Nadeshiko who put four past Mexico in a one-sided victory. Hikaru Naomoto, who had earlier crashed a left-footed twenty-yard drive against the crossbar, and second-half substitute Kumi Yokoyama both scored excellent goals, and they will look to continue their form in three days’ time when they meet New Zealand. Highlights of Japan’s match begin at approximately 1:50)

New Zealand
Millynn 39′
White 52′
2 Switzerland
Aigbogun 90’+1
Shibata 32′
Naomoto 56′
Yokoyama 77′
Tanaka 88′ (pen.)
4 Mexico
Huerta 90’+1

(Matches played 19 August 2012)

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
Japan 1 1 0 0 4 1 +3 3
New Zealand 1 1 0 0 2 1 +1 3
Switzerland 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0
Mexico 1 0 0 1 1 -4 -3 0

2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup: Young Nadeshiko

(The Under-19 Japan women’s national football team romp to a 6-0 victory against Vietnam in the 2011 AFC Championship, which included a hat-trick from Kumi Yokoyama and a brace for Mai Kyōkawa. The latter will be absent as the Under-20 Women’s World Cup gets underway on Sunday, injury putting her hopes of participating beyond reach)

The Young Nadeshiko begin their campaign for World Cup success on 19 August against Mexico on the back of the silver medal the senior women’s side earned at the Olympic Games, and the prospects of success are strong as they seek to emulate the 2011 World Cup victory. The twenty-one player squad contains ten of those who featured in the 2010 Under-17 Women’s World Cup and lost in the final on penalties to South Korea, while as many as fifteen who took part in last year’s AFC Under-19 Women’s Championship triumph have been selected for a competition being played on home soil.

The Young Nadeshiko had been dealt a blow in their preparations with leading goalscorer and INAC Kobe Leonessa star Mai Kyōkawa absent through injury, while Mana Iwabuchi, still eligible for the Under-20 side, will not be participating owing to her recent commitments with the senior team, a decision made after she underwent surgery on a toe in January. However, manager Hiroshi Yoshida is still confident of success, proclaiming his players to be the most technically gifted in the world and believing they can play at an even higher level at this tournament.

Many of the games will be broadcast live around the world. For visitors to the site from Europe, Eurosport will be providing coverage, a schedule for which can be found here. In the United States, ESPNU will also be showing live matches, and for those in other territories, please click the link for details of broadcasters.

Japan’s Group A fixtures in full:

19 Aug 11:20 Japan vs Mexico Miyagi Stadium, Rifu
22 Aug 11:20 Japan vs New Zealand Miyagi Stadium, Rifu
26 Aug 11:20 Japan vs Switzerland National Olympic Stadium, Tokyo

(All times BST)