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HOME > National Teams > Women's National Football Teams 2024 > NEWS > 【Match Report】Nadeshiko Japan beat New Zealand 2-0 in first of two friendlies


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【Match Report】Nadeshiko Japan beat New Zealand 2-0 in first of two friendlies

01 June 2024

【Match Report】Nadeshiko Japan beat New Zealand 2-0 in first of two friendlies

On Friday 31 May, Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) defeated the New Zealand Women's National Team 2-0 in an international friendly match held at Estadio Nueva Condomina in Murcia, Spain.

In the first of the two friendlies, Japan started in a 3-4-3 formation with HIRAO Chika (Albirex Niigata Ladies) in goal and a back line consisting of ISHIKAWA Rion (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Urawa Reds Ladies), MINAMI Moeka (AS Roma) and KOGA Toko (Feyenoord). HAYASHI Honoka (West Ham United) and NAGANO Fuka (Liverpool FC) anchored the midfield, while KITAGAWA Hikaru (INAC Kobe Leonessa) and MORIYA Miyabi (INAC Kobe Leonessa) were deployed on the flanks. MIYAZAWA Hinata (Manchester United) and SEIKE Kiko (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Urawa Reds Ladies) were the two wingers, while TANAKA Mina (INAC Kobe Leonessa) was the lone striker in the middle.

The match began with New Zealand controlling possession and pinning Japan back in their own half. However, Japan's defence kept their opponents out of the final third, while their attack looked for chances by getting the ball to Tanaka and using the width of the pitch effectively.

In the 21st minute, Seike latched onto Kitagawa's cross and unleashed a shot from the far side that was blocked by a defender. New Zealand also created a chance from a cross in the 25th minute, but their effort was thwarted by the Japanese defence.

As the two sides battled back and forth, Japan broke the deadlock in additional time of the first-half when Nagano responded to Moriya's pass and cut the ball back into the middle, allowing Seike to set up Tanaka for a left-footed finish.

The introduction of HAMANO Maika (Chelsea) in the second half reinvigorated Japan's attack and led to a second goal in the 47th minute when Koga converted Kitagawa's corner. It was Koga's first goal for Nadeshiko Japan.

Looking to extend their lead, Japan brought on UEKI Riko (West Ham United) and TAKAHASHI Hana (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Urawa Reds Ladies) just after the hour mark, followed by HASEGAWA Yui (Manchester City) on the 74 minute and CHIBA Remina (Eintracht Frankfurt) on the 78 minute.

Ueki latched onto Tanaka's through ball to fire a shot in the 74th minute before Ishikawa struck a header off of Hayashi's cross in the 75th minute. Seike also tried her luck in the 90th minute but was denied by the keeper as the game ended 2-0.

The two sides will play another friendly at the same venue on Monday 3 June.

Coach and Players' Comments

IKEDA Futoshi, Head Coach of Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team)
We went into the game with the aim of trying different combinations and improving the team. We had prepared to put pressure on their defence, but New Zealand had their goalkeeper involved when they passed the ball in their own half, which allowed them to control possession at times. But our defence showed great concentration throughout the game to keep them out of the final third. We needed to be more critical to take the few chances we had in the first half, but overall, I am happy with the way we scored a couple of goals and kept a clean sheet.

FP #10 NAGANO Fuka (Liverpool FC/England)
We entered today’s match with the intention of challenging ourselves and giving it our all. It was great that we managed to keep a clean sheet, but there were scenes where we could have scored more goals, so that is something we need to improve on. Myself included, we turned the ball over a lot and made a lot of mistakes. I wish I could have given my teammates more time to settle down. It is important that we are in good shape for every game, especially knowing that we will be playing every three days at the Olympics. No matter who we play, we need to get into the habit of playing with a higher level of precision and quality.

FP #11 TANAKA Mina (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
We knew from our scouting report that there would be space on the flanks, so I concentrated on receiving the ball in midfield to allow Seike and Miyazawa to exploit those spaces. However, I felt we needed to improve the quality of our combinations to create more chances. I would have liked to have carried the ball more myself instead of just turning with it and sending it wide. When I scored, I managed to control the ball well with my first touch, which allowed me to concentrate on where I wanted to hit the ball. I am happy that it went in.

FP #13 KITAGAWA Hikaru (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
Because there were players I have never played with before, I focused on communicating with my teammates so that I was on the same page with everyone else. There were some aspects that went well, but also plenty of room for improvements. The second goal came from a set-piece we went over the day before. I tried to change things up by delivering a line-drive into the box, which turned out to be right on target. With the Olympics in mind, I want to prepare well for the next match, including how to recover from back-to-back starts.

FP #16 HAYASHI Honoka (West Ham United/England)
All in all, I think we came into the game focused, and it was great to see us score two goals and keep our opponents on their toes. As I played the whole game, it was good that I was able to adjust my game depending on how tired I was and take advantage of the times when our opponents were running out of gas. However, I feel that I need to work harder to make my mark if I want to stay in the team. Although I was able to win the ball on a few occasions, I feel I need to be more involved in our attack. We only have two days to rest, so I want to make the most of the time we have to recover my condition, and as for my personal task, I want to focus on delivering better balls from set pieces.

FP #20 KOGA Toko (Feyenoord/Netherlands)
I was wide open when I scored the goal, so I just focused on making good contact with the ball. Although we had control over the ball possession, we struggled to create chances, so I am glad we managed to keep our opponents at bay and keep a clean sheet. I had been playing in midfield for Feyenoord, so I was able to showcase my ability to intercept the ball, but I wish I could have carried the ball more when we were building up our attacks from behind.

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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