IN FOCUS: JAPAN
Japan Football Association
Current FIFA World Ranking: 4
2015 Women’s World Cup Qualifying: 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Champions
Women’s World Cup Finals Appearances: 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015
Record vs. USA: 1-24-6
Head Coach: Norio Sasaki
Championship Honors: 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions; 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Champions; 2012 Olympic Silver Medalists
Leading Women’s World Cup Qualifying Scorers: Azusa Iwashimizu (2), Nahomi Kawasumi (2), Chinatsu Kira (2), Emi Nakajima (2), Mizuho Sakaguchi (2), Yuki Ogimi (2)
Key Players: Ayumi Kaihori (InAC Kobe Leonessa), Saki Kumagai (Olympique Lyonnais), Aya Miyama (Okayama Yunogo Belle), Homare Sawa (InAC Kobe Leonessa), Yuki Ogimi (VfL Wolfsburg)
Japan Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Miho Fukumoto (Okayama Yunogo Belle), 18-Ayumi Kaihori (InAC Kobe Leonessa), 21-Erina Yamane (JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies)
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Yukari Kinga (InAC Kobe Leonessa), 3-Azusa Iwashimizu (NTV Beleza), 4-Saki Kumagai (Olympique Lyonnais), 5-Aya Sameshima (InAC Kobe Leonssa), 12-Megumi Kamionobe (Albirex niigata Ladies), 19-Saori Ariyoshi (NTV Beleza), 20-Yuri Kawamura (Vegalta Sendai Ladies), 23-Kana Kitahara (Albirex niigata Ladies)
MIDFIELDERS (8): 6-Mizuho Sakaguchi (NTV Beleza), 7-Kozue Ando (1. FFC Frankfurt), 8-Aya Miyama (Okayama Yunogo Belle), 9-Nahomi Kawasumi (InAC Kobe Leonessa), 10-Homare Sawa (InAC Kobe Leonessa), 13-Rumi Utsugi (Montpellier HSC), 14-Asuna Takana (InAC Kobe Leonessa), 22-Asano Nagasato (FFC Turbine Potsdam)
FORWARDS (4): 11-Shinobu Ohno (InAC Kobe Leonessa), 15-Yuika Sugasawa (JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies), 16-Mana Iwabuchi (FC Bayern Munich), 17-Yuki Ogimi (VfL Wolfsburg)
JAPAN ROSTER NOTES
- Japanese captain and 2011 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Homare Sawa is the most capped player on the roster with 203 appearances for Japan. She is competing in her record sixth World Cup; only one of two players in the history of women’s soccer to do so.
- Sawa is also the leading scorer on the Japanese roster. She has scored 83 goals in international play.
- Sawa was the recipient of the Golden Boot and Golden Ball after being named the best player and was the top scorer (5 goals) at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
- Four Japanese players made the 2011 FIFA WWC All Star Team: Ayumi Kaihori, Aya Miyama, Shinobu Ohno and Sawa. All four are members of the 2015 FIFA WWC Japanese roster.
- The next leading scorer behind midfielder Sawa is forward Yuki Ogimi, who has scored 54.
- Six players on the roster have played over 100 games for Japan: Azusa Iwashimizu (118), Kozue Ando (126), Aya Miyama (155), Sawa (203), Shinobu Ohno (136) and Ogimi (123).
- Defender Kana Kitahara is the least capped player on the roster with 8.
- Fourteen players that took the field during the last meeting against the USA on Dec. 10, 2014 are part of this World Cup roster, while 15 of the 23 players on this roster were part of the team that defeated the USA in the Final of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup to claim the trophy.
- The average age of the China roster is 28 years old, with 22-year-old Mana Iwabuchi being the youngest and 36-year-old Sawa the oldest.
- Japan ended group play with nine points and a perfect record of 3-0-0, beating Switzerland 1-0, Cameroon 2-1, and Ecuador 1-0. It went on to beat the Netherlands 2-1 in the Round of 16, take down Australia 1-0 in the Quarterfinals and beat England by a score of 2-1, after England’s Laura Bassett scored an own goal in the last minute of stoppage time in the 93rd minute.
- Every player on the Japanese World Cup roster has played at least once in the tournament. Only two players have played in all six games, for all 540 minutes (Miyama and Ogimi).
- This will be Japan’s second Final appearance in a Women’s World Cup, and its seventh overall participation.
USA VS. JAPAN SERIES
- The USA has an all-time record of 24-1-6 against Japan dating back to 1986. They have outscored Japan 87-20.
- The USA and Japan are meeting in a World Cup for the fourth time and second straight time in a final. The last time was during the 2011 final in Frankfurt, Germany. Japan tied the USA twice during the game, once during regulation in the 81st minute after Alex Morgan had scored in the 69th, and again late in extra time after Abby Wambach had scored in the 104th minute of play. The U.S. ended up losing in a shootout, 3-1 on PKs.
- The last meeting between the USA and Japan took place in the 2014 Algarve Cup in Parchal, Portugal, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
- Of the nine matches between the teams since 2011, all but one have been decided by two goals or less.
- The USA’s lone loss to Japan occurred on March 5, 2012 in Faro, Portugal, during the 2012 Algarve Cup, a 1-0 setback. The USA took the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics later in the year after defeating the Japanese 2-1 in the final game.
- Since losing the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup to Japan, the USA has gone 2-2-1 against the Asian nation, outscoring them 8-5. All eight U.S. goals have been scored by players who are part of this current WWC roster: Morgan, Wambach, Carli Lloyd and Sydney Leroux.
- Eleven of the 13 players that took the field for the USA in its last meeting with Japan are part of this World Cup roster.
- Fourteen U.S. players from the 2011 WWCV team are on the 2015 roster. Eleven current players played in the 2011 final (nine started). Both final goal scorers are back (Morgan and Wambach).
- Seventeen Japan players from the 2011 WWC team are on the 2015 roster. All 11 starters from the 2011 final are back, and a total of 13 current players played in the 2011 final. Both final goal scorers are back (Aya Miyama and Homare Sawa).
On the field for the USA vs. JPN:
March 5, 2014 – Belavista Municipal Stadium; Parchal, Portugal
USA 1 Leroux, 59
JPN 1 Miyama, 83
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 6-Whitney Engen, 14-Stephanie Cox; 9-Heather O’Reilly (17-Tobin Heath, 73), 7-Morgan Brian (19-Kristie Mewis, 73), 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe; 23-Christen Press, 2-Sydney Leroux
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Christie Rampone, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 12-Samantha Mewis, 13-Sarah Hagen, 16-Rachel Van Hollebeke, 18-Alyssa Naeher, 20-Abby Wambach, 21-Jill Loyden, 25-Meghan Klingenberg
Head coach: Tom Sermanni
JPN: 21-Erina Yamane; 2-Yukari Kinga, 3-Azusa Iwashimizu, 4-Saki Kumagai, 19-Saori Ariyoshi (5-Aya Sameshima, 38); 6-Mizuho Sakaguchi (22-Nanase Kiryu, 68), 8-Aya Miyama (capt.), 9-Nahomi Kawasumi (16-Mana Iwabuchi, 59), 10-Homare Sawa (13-Rumi Utsugi, 76); 11-Shinobu Ohno, 17-Yuki Ogimi (15-Megumi Takase, 76)
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Miho Fukumoto, 7-Kozue Ando, 12-Megumi Kamionobe, 14-Asuna Tanaka, 18-Ayumi Kaihori, 20-Kana Kitahara, 23-Emi Nakajima
Head coach: Norio Sasaki