‘Samurai Blue’ couldn’t get past the ‘Vikings’.
The Japan women’s national football team (ranked 11th by FIFA) was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand 2023 with a 1-2 loss to Sweden (ranked third by FIFA) at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, at 4:30 p.m. ET on Monday.
Japan started the match in a 3-4-3 formation. Miyazawa Hinata, Tanaka Mina, Fujino Aoba, Sugita Hina, Hasegawa Yui, Nagano Fuka, Shimizu Lisa, Minami Moeka, Kumagai Saki, Takahashi Hana, and Yamashita Ayaka were the starting lineup.
Sweden lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Stina Braxteinus, Fridorina Rolfo, Kosovari Aslani, Johanna Kanerid, Elin Rubensson, Filippa Angeldahl, Jona Andersson, Magdalena Eriksson, Amanda Ilestedt, Natalie Bjorn, and Zekira Musovic started.
Japan is one of the “Big Four” of Asia, along with Australia (FIFA ranking 10th), China (FIFA ranking 14th) and South Korea (FIFA ranking 17th). The team peaked at the 2011 World Cup in Germany and the 2015 World Cup in Canada as runners-up, but their last appearance at the 2019 World Cup in France was a disappointing round of 16 exit. Japan came into the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with a different mindset.
They were expected to breeze through the group stage. There was a large objective power differential between Spain and Japan, and between Costa Rica (ranked 36th in FIFA) and Zambia (ranked 77th in FIFA). Japan was incredible. With clean sheets against Zambia (5-0) and Costa Rica (2-0), they booked their spot in the round of 16 early. The Spanish result would decide first and second place.
It wasn’t over. Japan would go on to demolish Spain (4-0). Hinata Miyazawa opened the scoring in the 12th minute, Riko Yuki added a goal in the 29th minute, and Miyazawa scored multiple goals in the 40th minute. Even substitute Tanaka Mina rattled the net at the end of the game to cap off the scoring.
In the end, Japan finished the group stage with an impressive record of “3 wins from 3 games” and “11 goals scored and 0 goals conceded”. They advanced to the knockout rounds, where they defeated Norway (3-1) in the round of 16. Expectations were rising that they could repeat the glory of being crowned world champions in 2011.
But this time was different. From kickoff, Japan was dominated by the physically dominant Swedes. The Swedes had the best chance of the match in the 24th minute when Braksteinus shot wide. Japan had a chance in the 27th minute with a Shimizu cross, but it went wide.
Eventually, the balance was broken. In the 32nd minute, a scramble ensued after a free kick in a dangerous area. Bjorn’s shot was deflected and Eriksson and Ilestedt rattled the post. Japan fought back through Jun Endo at the start of the second half. 메이저사이트
The gap widened further. Two minutes into the second half, Sweden won a corner. After an Andersson cross, the ball hit Nagano in the arm. After a video assistant referee (VAR) on-field review, the referee awarded a penalty kick (PK).