Japan moved a step closer to the quarterfinals today with a comfortably 3-0 victory over New Zealand.
Despite making five changes to the team that swept past Brazil 5-0, Japan thoroughly controlled the game, though the young Nadeshiko did take a while to get off the mark, with New Zealand keeper Lily Alfred proving to be their nemesis.
The Coastal Spirit number one played well in her sides 1-0 defeat to Mexico, and today she was once again in inspired form, keeping her team in the game with a string of magnificent first half saves.
But Alfred could do nothing to stop Japan’s opener from substitute Hasegawa. The NTV Menina midfielder smashing in a thunderous drive from the edge of the box after being found by Saki Ishii’s flicked corner.
Nasagawa’s second was another one for the scrapbook, surging onto a poor touch the midfielder unleashed an unstoppable shot from 25 yards up over the stretching Alfred.
Sumida added one more just before the final whistle, slotting in from the spot after being brought down in the box to make it 3-0 and move Japan three points clear at the top of Group C.
Earlier in the day, Brazil bounced back from their opening game defeat with a vital 1-0 win over Mexico. As Canarinhas dominated the game for long spells, bossing possession and out-shooting their opponents 25-3. However, they were made to wait until the 82nd minute to finally make their dominance count, with substitute Byanca producing a moment of magic worthy of winning any game.
The Vasco de Gama forward picked up the ball on the right hand side of the box, before cutting in and sending a looping shot over the Mexican keeper to win the game.
Meanwhile, in Group D Ricarda Kiessling’s last second strike denied China a famous win, and secured Germany a 1-1 draw.
Germany started well with Vivien Bell having a speculative long distance effort early on. But China then took the lead in the 12th minute, Miao Siwen smashing in a shot from distance after a neat pass from Li Mengwen.
China defended well throughout, with Germany struggling to breakdown their well-organized unit. And it seemed they were on course to register a famous victory with the game in the fourth minute of added time. However, with just seconds remaining substitute Kiessling found space in a crowded box to head home a free kick, and save what could be a vital point for Germany.
Group D’s other game saw Ghana keep their hopes of making it to the second round alive with a 5-0 victory over Uruguay. The Black Stars, who have yet to make it past the group phase in two attempts, got off to the perfect start scoring after only eight minutes when Jane Ayieyam headed in Sherifatu Sumaila’s corner.
Goals from Priscilla Okyere and Alberta Aialey effectively ended the contested before half time, whilst two goals in as many minutes in the second half completed the rout. Fatima AlHassan making it 4-0 in the 78th minutes, and Alberta Aialey added a fifth only 60 seconds later to bag her second goal of the game.