England win Group D

21 Jun

Japan and England were both through to the Round of 16 but this match was quite competitive. The scoreline was a little bit misleading as both goal keepers worked very hard and kept the totals low. However, the Lionesses will prefer to meet Cameroon than the Netherlands and will be happy with the win.

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Iwabuchi and Yokoyama immediately tried to get into the box and get moving. Iwabuchi found Yokoyama in the 6th minute but her shot went high and wide. She tried again in the 9th minute and forced a save from Bardsley. But England answered almost immediately with a shot from Stanway from distance but it was pushed away for a corner. A few minutes later though, Stanley found White who moved it past Yamashita and Ichise just couldn’t get back to clear it. England were up by one.

Right after that Yamashita was tested in quick succession by both Scott and Stanway. Yamashita didwell to stop both. Daly too got in a run, battling Sameshima and got off a shot but Yamashita was there again to take care of it. Scott as well tried to test the keeper right before half time but she was denied as well.

England led at the half and Japan was fortunate to have Yamashita in goal for them. However, as the half progressed Japan’s passing and footwork were great but they could not make their efforts into viable chances.

The second half began in a similar way but around the 60th minute, Daly and Bronze came together for a series of passes that forced another save from Yamashita.

Japan started to show some strength (or was it that the Lionesses were beginning to tire?). Houghton made a strong tackle on Sugasawa to block an attack. Both Sugasawa and Iwabuchi made a few runs into the box to test Bardsley.

But all of this Japanese play was for naught when White scored again in the 84th minute against the run of play. It was almost exactly like the last goal except it was Parris and Scott who fed her the ball and she put in near post. Japan looked completely flabbergasted.

All credit to Japan who fought to the bitter end. Sugita, Iwabuchi and Takarada all made runs into the box in the closing minutes of the match. Perhaps the most dangerous attempt was when Sugasawa forced a big save from Bardsley as time ran out. She’d been fantastic since she came on in the 62nd minute.

Both teams showed some beautiful teamwork and yet they both have quite a bit to work on if they expect to have a long run in this tournament. England needs to keep their foot on the gas until the final minutes and not lose steam after the 70th minute. Japan needs to be able to complete their chances. I will enjoy watching them both in the next round! England will meet Cameroon on Sunday and Japan and the Netherlands will be on Tuesday.

Stade de Nice (Allianz Riviera) , Nice , France
Attendance 14,319
Referees: Claudia Umpierrez (URU), Luciana Mascarana (URU), Monica Amboya (ECU), Maria Carvajal (CHI)
Line ups:
JAP: Yamashita, Shimizu, Kumagai (captain), Ichise, Sameshima, Kobayashi (Miura 62’), Nakajima, Sugita, Endo (Takarada 85’), Yokoyama (Sugasawa, 62’), Iwabuchi
ENG: Bardsley, Bronze, Houghton (Captain), Bright, Stokes, Scott, Walsh (Moore, 71’), Stanway (Carney 74’), Daly, White, Duggan (Parris, 83’)

– ForzaSusan

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