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HOME > Nadeshiko Japan > NEWS > 【Match Report】First leg between Nadeshiko Japan and DPR Korea ends in a scoreless draw - Women's Olympic Football Tournament Paris 2024 Asian Qualifiers Final Round


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【Match Report】First leg between Nadeshiko Japan and DPR Korea ends in a scoreless draw - Women's Olympic Football Tournament Paris 2024 Asian Qualifiers Final Round

25 February 2024

【Match Report】First leg between Nadeshiko Japan and DPR Korea ends in a scoreless draw - Women's Olympic Football Tournament Paris 2024 Asian Qualifiers Final Round

The first leg of the final round of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament Paris 2024 Asian Qualifiers between Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) and DPR Korea Women's National Team took place on Saturday, 24 February at Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

In their first match of 2024, Japan's head coach IKEDA Futoshi opted for a 4-3-3 formation with YAMASHITA Ayaka (INAC Kobe Leonessa) in goal behind a back line of MINAMI Moeka (AS Roma), TAKAHASHI Hana (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Urawa Reds Ladies), KOGA Toko (Feyenoord) and SHIMIZU Risa (West Ham United). Team captain KUMAGAI Saki (AS Roma) anchored the midfield, while NAGANO Fuka (Liverpool FC) and HASEGAWA Yui (Manchester City) played in the centre. UEKI Riko (West Ham United) and FUJINO Aoba (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza) were deployed on the flanks, while TANAKA Mina (INAC Kobe Leonessa) played as a central striker.

Despite the hot weather, which saw temperatures soar to 31 degrees Celsius before kick-off, Japan showed plenty of aggression from the outset, with Ueki chasing down the ball and winning a corner in the very first play of the game. Kumagai latched on to Hasegawa's delivery from this corner, but the midfielder's header went wide. Playing in a three-back formation, DPR Korea kept their attacks simple and in the 26th minute MYONG YU JONG fired a shot that almost found the back of the net, but Yamashita was on hand to make a fine save. Fujino, who had been clinical in helping Japan win possession in midfield, delivered a well-placed cross to setup the shot of Tanaka in the 42nd minute, but the striker’s attempt was denied by the opposing goalkeeper PAK JU MI.

After a goalless first half, DPR Korea started the second half with more aggression, but the Japanese defence, led by centre-halves Minami and Takahashi, showed great coverage to keep them at bay. In an attempt to change the dynamic of the game, Japan brought on NAKASHIMA Yoshino (Sanfrecce Hiroshima Regina) in the 58th minute, followed by SEIKE Kiko (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Urawa Reds Ladies) and TANIKAWA Momoko (FC Rosengard) in the 69th minute. However, it was DPR Korea who had the next big chance when KIM KYONG YONG's header struck the crossbar in the 73rd minute. Japan also had several opportunities from corners towards the end of the game but were unable to find the back of the net as the first leg ended in a goalless draw.

With the ticket to the Women's Olympic Football Tournament at Paris 2024 on the line, the second leg will be played at Japan National Stadium on Wednesday, 28 February.

Coach and Players' Comments

IKEDA Futoshi, Head Coach of Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team)
Obviously our aim was to win the game today and I thought the players did a great job in the hot conditions. We talked about looking at the two-legs as a whole and trying to build up a good momentum for our home game, and although we didn't win today, we will be able to go into the next game with a score of 0-0, so we will try to recover our condition and prepare for the next game. We knew that our opponents would be fully prepared for this game, and the five-back formation was one of the scenarios that we had anticipated, so the players did well to make the adjustments as the game went on. We experienced this kind of adjustment on our tour to Brazil last November, so the players were prepared for different scenarios. We need to score goals to win our home game, which requires the players to be on the same page and working in sync with each other, so we will do our best to improve the quality of our play before the game.

FP #4 KUMAGAI Saki (AS Roma/Italy)
There are a lot of things we need to do better, but it means a lot that we didn't lose today. It would have been great to have taken a commanding lead in the first leg, but that doesn't change the way we approach the second leg. We should be happy to go home with a 0-0 draw. It was really hot, but both teams played in the same conditions, so we cannot use that as an excuse. They pressed us aggressively in the first half and although they must have been exhausted, it felt like we were forced to keep the ball moving and were pinned back in the second half. We are hoping that we can make the necessary adjustments, both tactically and mentally, so that we can work together to win the ball and take the initiative in the game.

FP #9 UEKI Riko (West Ham United/England)
I wish we had made the right adjustments to our positioning earlier in the game. Pressing from the front is something I thrive on and although I am happy to have shown my strength in this match, it would have been better if the team, myself included, had been able to keep the pressure on throughout the game. They did a much better job of winning the loose balls, but it wasn't as if we didn't have a chance to win, and there's nothing to be afraid of as long as we do what we set out to do. We were able to see how our opponents play and get a lot of information to make the necessary adjustments for our next game. We can now restart the game 0-0 at home, so we will do our best to prepare ourselves to win.

FP #20 KOGA Toko (Feyenoord /Netherlands)
It was my first time playing at left-back and I was very worried at the start, so I am very relieved that we managed to keep a clean sheet. My job was to nullify the size and strength of the opposition and the fact that we were able to keep them off the scoresheet shows that I was able to do that in this game. I also felt that I was able to get more involved in the team's build-up by changing my positioning in the second half, but there were also a lot of things that I felt I needed to improve on. Nevertheless, I am happy that we were able to keep a clean sheet today and we hope to use this experience to do a better job in the second leg.

Women's Olympic Football Tournament Paris 2024 - Asian Qualifiers Final Round

Fixture: Nadeshiko Japan vs DPR Korea Women's National Team
Date: Sat. 24 February 2024, 16:04 (22:04 Japan time)
Venue: Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Match information

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