ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2023) - The Brazil Women’s National Team kicked of the eighth edition of the SheBelieves Cup, presented by Visa, with a hard-earned 1-0 win against Japan in the first game of the day at Exploria Stadium. Brazil legend Marta, who is back from an ACL injury, made a triumphant return to the side by setting up Debinha’s game-winning goal that gave Brazil the win.
In the teams’ only previous SBC meeting, Japan walked away 3-1 winners in 2019 – a game in which Debinha also scored for Brazil – but the perennial Asian power was not able to capitalize on its slight offensive advantage this time around, putting only one of their 13 shots on target. Brazil put five of their nine total shots on goal.
The first half was a chess match punctuated by half chances and the rare save. Brazil started the more aggressive side through the opening 10 minutes, but it was Japan that carved out the first real opportunity only for forward Riko Ueki’s shot from near the penalty spot to be blocked.
Brazil’s best chances in the opening 45 minutes came from the runs of forward Geyse who scythed through Japan’s defense on two separate occasions but found herself at too wide an angle to cause any damage.
Japan pressed hard over the final 10 minutes of the half in an effort to take the lead before halftime and was nearly rewarded on two occasions only to see shots from midfielder Hina Sugita, Ueki and midfielder Hinata Miyazawa roll wide of the net as the intensity level began to rise.
After the break, the tactical battle of the first half gave way to a pacier, more physical contest as both sets of players looked to seize their opportunity to earn a spot on their respective World Cup rosters. Each team introduced a slew of subs in the second half, but it was Brazil’s introduction of Marta, who had been out of the squad for the past year due to her injury, that paid the ultimate dividend.
Minutes after entering the match in the 68th minute, Marta received the ball in space on the right side of Japan’s defense, beat her defender and served a low cross into the box. A perfectly timed run from Debinha allowed her to hit a one-time shot from the middle of the box into the back of the net in the 72nd minute.
Undeterred by the setback, Japan created perhaps its two best chances of the second half in the final 10 minutes only to see the first soar agonizingly over the bar and the second deflect down off the woodwork but not over the line as Brazil escaped with the 1-0 victory.
Debinha’s goal in the 72nd minute was the 98th scored in SheBelieves history and the 58th of her international career.
Japan will next play the USWNT at 3:30 p.m. ET in the first game of Matchday 2, while Brazil takes on Canada in the second match at 6:30 p.m. Both games will be played on Sunday, Feb. 19 at Geodis Park in Nashville.
BRA – Debinha (Marta), 72nd minute: Debinha picked up the ball just across midfield and dribbled into Japan’s defensive third before laying it off to Marta on the left wing. The six-time Ballon D’Or winner drove to the endline, beat her defender and cut a low cross back into the box. Debinha timed her late run to perfection, meeting Marta’s pass in stride to one-time a right-footed shot into the center of the goal. JPN 0, BRA 1 FINAL
- 2023 Shebelieves cup MATCH REPORT -
Match: Japan Women’s National Team vs. Brazil Women’s National Team
Date: February 16, 2023
Competition: 2023 SheBelieves Cup
Venue: Exploria Stadium; Orlando, Fla.
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET
Weather: 83 degrees, partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
JPN 0 0 0
BRA 0 1 1
BRA – Debinha (Marta) 72nd minute
18-Momoko Tanaka, 5-Shiori Miyake, 4-Saki Kumagai (Capt.), 3-Moeka Minami, 15-Hina Sugita (13-Jun Endo, 51), 2-Risa Shimizu, 20-Aoba Fujino, 14-Yui Hasegawa (16-Honoka Hayashi, 66), 7-Hinata Miyazawa (11-Rikako Kobayashi, 66), 8-Fuka Nagano, 9-Riko Ueki (23-Maika Hamano, 56)
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Ayaka Yamashitam 17-Shu Ohba, 21-Chika Hirao, 6-Rion Ishikawa, 10-Mana Iwabuchi, 12-Ruka Norimatsu, 19-Saori Takarada, 22-Kiko Seike
Head coach: Futoshi Ikeda
BRA: 1-Lorena, 2-Bruninha, 5-Tainara (14-Lauren, 46), 4-Rafaelle, 6-Tamires (Capt.) (19-Yasmim, 68), 16-Bia Zaneratto (10-Marta, 68), 15-Julia Bianchi (8-Ana Vitória, 46), 21-Kerolin, 18-Geyse (20-Nycole, 46), 9-Debinha (23-Gabi Nunes, 81), 11-Adriana
Substitutions Not Used:12-Letícia, 22-Luciana, 3-Kathellen, 7-Ludmila, 13-Tarciane, 17-Ary Borges
Head coach: Pia Sundhage
Stats Summary: JPN / BRA
Shots: 13 / 9
Shots on Goal: 1 / 5
Saves: 4 / 1
Corner Kicks: 6 / 4
Fouls: 8 / 10
Offside: 1 / 1
JPN – Shiori Miyake (Caution) 60th minute
Referee: Tori Penso (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Brooke Mayo (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Meghan Mullen (USA)
4th Official: Alexandria Billeter (USA)