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HOME > Nadeshiko Japan > NEWS > 【Match Report】Nadeshiko Japan win second friendly against New Zealand 4-1


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【Match Report】Nadeshiko Japan win second friendly against New Zealand 4-1

04 June 2024

【Match Report】Nadeshiko Japan win second friendly against New Zealand 4-1

Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team), who are on tour in Spain, played their second friendly match against the New Zealand Women's National Team on Monday 3 June.

Three days after the first friendly against New Zealand, head coach IKEDA Futoshi made seven changes to the starting line-up. YAMASHITA Ayaka (INAC Kobe Leonessa) started in goal in a 3-4-3 formation, while MINAMI Moeka (AS Roma), KUMAGAI Saki (AS Roma) and TAKAHASHI Hana (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Urawa Reds Ladies) formed the backline. HASEGAWA Yui (Manchester City) and NAGANO Fuka (Liverpool FC) anchored the midfield, while KITAGAWA Hikaru (INAC Kobe Leonessa) and SHIMIZU Risa (West Ham United) were deployed on the flanks. MIYAZAWA Hinata (Manchester United) and FUJINO Aoba (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza) started as wingers, while UEKI Riko (West Ham United) played as a central striker.

As in the first match, New Zealand made effective use of their goalkeeper to dominate possession in the opening minutes. As Japan struggled to find their rhythm, they conceded the opening goal in the 22nd minute when New Zealand's Milly CLEGG broke into the penalty area before unleashing a powerful shot that found the back of the net.

With the goal serving as a wake-up call, Japan began to pick up the pace and create chances, such as Fujino's cross from the right in the 37th minute and Ueki's effort from Kitagawa's cross in the 38th minute.

Trailing by a goal, coach Ikeda made three changes at half-time, instructing the team to “make more runs into space and react faster to loose balls.” The changes saw Fujino move into a central striker role, while CHIBA Remina (Eintracht Frankfurt) and HAMANO Maika (Chelsea) were deployed on the flanks, with TANIKAWA Momoko (FC Rosengard) coming in as a defensive midfielder.

The change paid immediate dividends as Hamano equalised in the 50th minute, the winger latching onto a loose ball and unleashing a right-footed shot from outside the area. Buoyed by the goal, Japan began to take control of the game by applying more pressure from the front.

Japan's second goal came on the hour mark when Hasegawa caught her opponents off guard with a quick restart near the halfway line. The midfielder's lofted pass allowed Hamano to get behind the defence and run one-on-one with the goalkeeper before calmly slotting home to give Japan the lead.

Fujino made it 3-1 in the 66th minute, when the striker converted a deflection following an errant pass made by the opposing goalkeeper and struck a well-placed shot from outside the box.

With the momentum in their favour, Japan further extended their lead in the 80th minute when Chiba responded to a header flicked into space by MORIYA Miyabi (INAC Kobe Leonessa) and slotted home from close range.

Japan went on to win the match 4-1, ending their tour of Spain with back-to-back wins over New Zealand. Following this tour, Nadeshiko Japan will take part in the MS&AD Cup 2024 before announcing their final Olympic squad for the summer tournament in Paris.

Coach and Players' Comments

IKEDA Futoshi, Head Coach of Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team)
In the first half, our response to the second ball was slow and the quantity, quality and timing of our movement was not up to Nadeshiko Japan's standards. I think there were a lot of factors at play, such as our minds being occupied with the team's new initiatives and the need to adjust our conditions. We opted for players who could demonstrate Nadeshiko's core qualities of dynamism and hard work in the second half. It was good that we were able to add new defensive options over the course of the two games and that we were able to win the game convincingly. It was also good to see the development of the team and the players throughout the tour.

FP #4 KUMAGAI Saki (AS Roma/Italy)
It was unfortunate that we didn't get into the game properly, which showed in our lack of preparation and how slow we were to react to the second ball. We were a goal down at half-time, a situation of our own making and one we certainly don't want to find ourselves in at the Olympics. I think we could have changed our approach a lot sooner, especially when things weren't going well defensively. Even if we have a clear objective as a team, it will be meaningless if we are so preoccupied with the idea of achieving it that we fail to execute the fundamentals. It's important that we understand when we should be chasing the team goal and when we shouldn't. We need to be able to execute no matter who is on the pitch, so in that sense playing two games against the same opponent was a great simulation for us before the Olympics.

FP #14 HASEGAWA Yui (Manchester City/England)
We were too aware of their 4-4-2 formation, which we felt threw us off our game in the first half. Towards the end of the first half, we changed our approach and the way we pressed the ball, which worked better, and after making drastic changes in the second half we started to gain possession and eventually control the game. I don't mind the way we've tried new things and I think we have more options now for the Olympics. This series of matches has taken place in the off-season, when there is no club activity and the players are not in the best shape, so we will try to improve them for the summer tournament.

FP #15 FUJINO Aoba (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza)
We didn't work together to win the ball in the first half, but once we closed the gap between the three attackers up front, we really started to press as a team in the second half. It's been a while since I've played as a lone striker, but I think I was able to press aggressively with a positive attitude because I was the closest to the goal. I told (Hamano) Maika and (Chiba) Remina that I was going to drop back a bit to receive the ball, so I wanted them to anticipate and make runs into the space behind me. Because we were on the same page, we were able to use the space behind their backline to score goals.

FP #22 HAMANO Maika (Chelsea/England)
I am happy not only because I scored my first international goal, but also because I was able to contribute to the team's victory. Whenever I go out on the pitch, I try to put pressure on myself by telling myself: "It's not me if I don't score. I really let my intuition take over when I scored the first goal. The second goal was assisted by a great pass from Yui-san, so all I had to do was put it in the net. I feel like I have been giving it my all in training and matches, so I will see if that is enough to make the team.

※The archive will be open until 1 September 2024.

International Friendly Match

Fixture: Nadeshiko Japan vs New Zealand Women's National Team
Date: Fri. 31 May 2024, 16:00 (23:00 Japan time)
Venue: Estadio Nueva Condomina (Murcia, Spain)

Fixture: Nadeshiko Japan vs New Zealand Women's National Team
Date: Mon. 3 June 2024, 16:00 (23:00 Japan time)
Venue: Estadio Nueva Condomina (Murcia, Spain)

Match information

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