Japan back on track while Scotland have a déjà vu result

15 Jun

Now THAT’s the Japan we know and love! Japan came into this match, disappointed with their scoreless draw with Argentina but it may have sparked a fire in their bellies as they were energetic and strong right from the start. Scotland, while losing their match against England, did not have the same fuel they had in their first match and looked somewhat sluggish in comparison.

Seven minutes in, Iwabuchi sent a lovely cross to Nakajiwa that went just wide. Lauder had a chance a few minutes later for Scotland but it lacked any power and Yamashita handled it easily. Japan seemed much more comfortable and outmuscled the taller Scots. Unfortunately, Sameshima went in a bit too much with a rough and late tackle on Scottish captain Corsie and got booked. Luckily Corsie was able to shake it off.

Japan pulled ahead in the 23rd minute after a screamer from Iwabuchi, a long range shot over Alexander’s head. Unfortunately this resulted from a tactical error from Corsie that gave Endo the ball who fed it straight to Iwabuchi.

Embed from Getty Images

Iwabuchi had another attempt a few minutes later and Scotland were in deep. Corsie was challenged by Sugita, Sugasawa and Miura within minutes of each other. It all seemed too much when Alexander was drawn out and Kumagai laid in a shot on an empty net but Little got back to defend and cleared the danger. Scary moments for Scotland!

Corsie couldn’t seem to catch a break when the ref called a super soft penalty on her challenge on Sugasawa. Sugasawa took the penalty and converted it in the 37th minute.

Both teams hit the crossbar before half time – Cuthbert for Scotland and Sugita for Japan and that was that.

The second half saw Scotland with some chances that frankly lacked in power to do any real damage. Both Ross and Weir had some great runs but Yamashita was alert and aware and there’s no real danger. Alexander, on the other hand, was forced to make a great save after a Nagajima curling shot just before the hour mark.

Scotland had a few chances but just couldn’t seem to capitalize on them. Evans, Beattie and Lauder all were unable to control their shots and their opportunities were few and far between. And another crossbar – this time from Cuthbert!

Scottish fans had a bit to say against VAR after an admittedly soft challenge on Cuthbert had her down in the box (perhaps comparable to Sugasawa?) but more so on the handball on Shimizu’s arm that went uncalled. Scotland was able to capitalize on Ichise’s bad pass and substitute Clelland scored in the 88th minute.

Sadly it’s too little, too late. It will be especially hard to take after the missed handball by Shimizu that should have been picked up by VAR. However, Scotland will need to be able to capitalize on their chances if they are to have any luck with their next match with Argentina. It may be a tough hill to climb.
Japan face England and we’ll see which Japan shows up.

Roazhon Park, Rennes, France
Attendance: 13,201
Referees: Lidya Tafesse Abebe (ETH), Mary Njoroge (KEN), Queency Victorie (MRI), Gladys Lengwe (ZAM)

Lineups:
SCO: Alexander, Smith, Corsie (captain), Beattie, Lauder, Evans (Brown, 85’), Little, Weir, Arnot (Emslie, 60’), Cuthbert, Ross (Clelland, 76’)
JAP: Yamashita, Shimizu, Kumagai (captain), Ichise, Sameshima, Nakajima, Miura, Sugita, Endo (Kobayashi, 66’), Sugasawa, Iwabuchi (Hasegawa, 82’)

– ForzaSusan

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