Japan women's national football team

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Japan
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)なでしこジャパン (Nadeshiko Japan)
AssociationJapan Football Association
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Sub-confederationEAFF (East Asia)
Head coachAsako Takakura
CaptainSaki Kumagai
Most capsHomare Sawa (205)
Top scorerHomare Sawa (83)
FIFA codeJPN
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 10 Increase 1 (27 September 2019)[1]
Highest3 (December 2011)
Lowest14 (July 2003)
First international
 Chinese Taipei 1–0 Japan 
(Hong Kong; 7 June 1981)
Biggest win
 Japan 21–0 Guam 
(Guangzhou, China; 5 December 1997)
Biggest defeat
 Italy 9–0 Japan 
(Tokyo, Japan; 9 September 1981)[2]
 United States 9–0 Japan 
(Charlotte, United States; 29 April 1999)[2]
World Cup
Appearances8 (first in 1991)
Best resultChampions (2011)
Olympic Games
Appearances4 (first in 1996)
Best resultRunners-up (2012)
Asian Cup
Appearances16 (first in 1977)
Best resultChampions (2014, 2018)

The Japan women's national football team, or Nadeshiko Japan (なでしこジャパン), represents Japan in women's association football and is run by the Japan Football Association (JFA). It is the most successful women's national team from the Asian Football Confederation. Its highest ranking in the FIFA Women's World Rankings is 3rd, achieved in December 2011.[3]

Nadeshiko Japan defeated the United States in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final, thus claiming their first FIFA Women's World Cup title, becoming the first Asian team to do so and only the fourth women's world champions.[4] It won silver medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, making it the only Asian team to have three combined medals from international championships.[5] It also won gold medals at the 2014 and 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cups, the 2010 and 2018 Asian Games, and the 2008 and 2010 EAFF Women's Football Championships.

History[edit]

70s and 80s[edit]

During the 1970s, the number of women football players and teams increased in Japan, and teams made up regional leagues in various parts of Japan. In 1977, the Japan team participated its first international tournament, 1977 AFC Women's Championship. But, this Japan team was not a national team, Japan Football Association dispatched club team, FC Jinnan as a Japan team. In 1980, "All-Japan Women's Football Championship" was held. In 1981, Japan Football Association formed first national team for 1981 AFC Women's Championship[6] and Seiki Ichihara managed as first Japan national team manager.[2] The first match against Chinese Taipei on June 7 at this tournament is the first match for Japan national team history.[2] In 1984, national team was formed for the first time in three years for a China expedition, and Takao Orii managed national team.[2]

In January 1986, Ryohei Suzuki became first full-time manager for national team. In December, Japan won the 2nd place at 1986 AFC Women's Championship. In 1989, the "Japan Women's Football League" (abbreviated to "L. League") was established, and the women’s national team qualified for the "1991 FIFA Women's World Cup" in China.

Verge of decline[edit]

Japan women's national football team attended various championship tournaments such as the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup which had made the national team and the L.League very popular. However, in 1999, Japan failed to qualify for the 2000 Summer Olympics, and this helped to cause with economic stagnation (Lost Decade) the withdrawal of a series of teams from the L. League. Japanese women’s football was on the verge of decline.

Regeneration[edit]

In August 2002, the Japan Football Association appointed Eiji Ueda, who had been coach for the Macau national football team, as the new head coach. Officials expected a revitalization of women's football and planned a team reorganization, aiming for the 2004 Summer Olympics. The team at first went through a losing streak, but Ueda gradually improved the team, and it eventually gained wide support in Japan. In particular, a game against Korea DPR, which decided who would participate in the 2004 Olympics, not only made fans rush to the National Stadium but also was widely watched on TV.

Following the increase in public interest in women's football in Japan, the JFA organized a public contest to select a nickname for the team. "Nadeshiko Japan" was chosen from among about 2,700 entries and was announced on 7 July 2004. "Nadeshiko", a kind of dianthus, comes from the phrase "Yamato Nadeshiko" (大和撫子, "ideal Japanese woman").

2003 and 2007 World Cup[edit]

Japan was dropped with Germany, Canada and Argentina during 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup. Beginning by a 6–0 thrash to newcomer Argentina, but later Japan fell on 0–3 loss to later champion Germany, and 1–3 to Canada, who later won 4th place.

Again, in 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup held in China, they again faced Germany, Argentina and England. They started with a 2–2 draw over England, before beating Argentina 1–0 after 90'. But a 0–2 loss over reigning champion Germany again eliminated Japan from the group stage. Japan's disappointing campaign through two decisive Women's World Cup would not have expected to lead to a 2011 triumph.

Golden Period[edit]

2011 World Cup[edit]

The Japan team thanking fans for their support for the humanitarian response to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami after their World Cup win[7][8]

Japan qualified for the finals by finishing third in the 2010 AFC Women's Asian Cup. After finishing second in their group behind England, Japan beat two-time defending champion and host nation Germany 1–0 in the quarterfinals, before easily defeating Sweden 3–1 to reach the final.

After the final game finished 2–2 after extra time, Japan beat the United States 3–1 in a penalty shootout, becoming the first Asian team to win the FIFA Women's World Cup, and the first Asian team to win a senior FIFA title.[9][10] It came right after men's team won the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, marked their most successful year in Japanese football.

2012 Summer Olympics[edit]

Japan qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics by finishing first in the Asian qualifier in September 2011, only 6 weeks after winning the Women's World Cup. At the Olympics, after finishing second in their group behind Sweden, Nadeshiko Japan defeated Brazil 2–0 in the quarterfinals, followed by a 2–1 victory over France, whom Nadeshiko had lost to in a friendly match right before the Olympics, to reach the final.

In a rematch of the World Cup final, Japan was defeated in the Olympic final by a score of 1–2 against the United States, allowing two goals to Carli Lloyd in the 8th and 54th minutes. Yūki Ōgimi scored the lone goal for Japan.[11]

Nadeshiko, 2013

2014 Asian Cup[edit]

Despite having won a FIFA Women's World Cup in 2011, Japan entered the 2014 Asian Cup having never previously won the tournament. They were drawn with Asia's Queen Australia, host Vietnam and newcomer Jordan.[citation needed] Their first match in the group stage of the tournament resulted in a 2–2 draw against the defending champion Australia.[12] Also in the group stage, Japan upset host Vietnam by a 4–0 win before defeating Jordan with a 7–0 win to finish first with a higher goal difference.[citation needed]

In the semi-final, Japan beat eight-time champions China 2–1 after 120'. In the final, they met Australia once again and successfully earned a 1–0 win with Azusa Iwashimizu's goal. This marked the first time for Japan to become "Queen of Asia". They became the first Asian team to subsequently win both the FIFA Women's World Cup and AFC Women's Asian Cup.[citation needed] Because of their top placement in the tournament, Japan, Australia, China, South Korea and newcomer Thailand secured their spot at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup to be played in Canada the following year.[13]

2015 World Cup[edit]

The national teams of Japan and the United States at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup

Japan, then fourth in the world, was drawn into Group C for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, with tournament debutants Ecuador, Switzerland, and Cameroon. Japan won all three games, securing passage into the Round of 16, where they drew yet another tournament debutant in the Netherlands. Saori Ariyoshi and Mizuho Sakaguchi scored goals for Japan, and they ultimately survived a couple of nervy moments to get into the quarterfinals. Against Australia, Japan once again used their technical possession game to frustrate The Matildas and negate their speed. Mana Iwabuchi notched the only goal of the game three minutes from time to send Japan to the semifinals.

Against England in the semifinals, Nadeshiko Japan was able to survive against the tenacious Lionesses, as the two teams traded goals from the penalty spot (Aya Miyama for Japan, Fara Williams for England). Deadlocked from the 40th minute on, Japan got a truly fortunate break as English centre back Laura Bassett, in trying to clear out a Japan cross, ended up scoring an own-goal at the death. This set up a rematch with the United States from the 2011 Women's World Cup.

Unfortunately for Japan, the Americans came out flying and scored four goals in the first 16 minutes of the match, with American midfielder Carli Lloyd scoring a hat trick in the process. Yuki Ogimi brought Japan one back in the 27th minute, and an own goal from Julie Johnston halved the American lead, but Tobin Heath put the final touch on the United States' third Women's World Cup victory.

Recent schedule and results[edit]

The following is a list of match results in the last 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.

Dates and times are shown in Japanese local time, unless otherwise noted.

2018[edit]

2019[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

The following 25 players were named to the squad for the friendly against  Canada on 6 October 2019.[14]

Caps and goals as of 6 October 2019 after match against  Canada.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Rei Takenaka (武仲 麗依) (1992-05-18) 18 May 1992 (age 27) 0 0 Japan INAC Kobe Leonessa
1GK Sakiko Ikeda (池田 咲紀子) (1992-09-08) 8 September 1992 (age 27) 14 0 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds
1GK Ayaka Yamashita (山下 杏也加) (1995-09-29) 29 September 1995 (age 24) 32 0 Japan Nippon TV Beleza

2DF Saki Kumagai (熊谷 紗希) (captain) (1990-10-17) 17 October 1990 (age 29) 109 0 France Lyon
2DF Akari Kurishima (栗島 朱里) (1994-09-14) 14 September 1994 (age 25) 0 0 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds
2DF Shiori Miyake (三宅 史織) (1995-10-13) 13 October 1995 (age 24) 18 0 Japan INAC Kobe Leonessa
2DF Mayo Doko (土光 真代) (1996-05-03) 3 May 1996 (age 23) 1 0 Japan Nippon TV Beleza
2DF Risa Shimizu (清水 梨紗) (1996-06-15) 15 June 1996 (age 23) 29 0 Japan Nippon TV Beleza
2DF Kiko Seike (清家 貴子) (1996-08-08) 8 August 1996 (age 23) 0 0 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds
2DF Asato Miyagawa (宮川 麻都) (1998-02-24) 24 February 1998 (age 21) 6 0 Japan Nippon TV Beleza
2DF Moeka Minami (南 萌華) (1998-12-07) 7 December 1998 (age 20) 7 0 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds
2DF Hana Takahashi (高橋 はな) (2000-02-19) 19 February 2000 (age 19) 1 0 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds

3MF Emi Nakajima (中島 依美) (1990-09-27) 27 September 1990 (age 29) 75 14 Japan INAC Kobe Leonessa
3MF Arisa Matsubara (松原 有沙) (1995-05-01) 1 May 1995 (age 24) 2 0 Japan Nojima Stella
3MF Yuka Momiki (籾木 結花) (1996-04-09) 9 April 1996 (age 23) 27 9 Japan Nippon TV Beleza
3MF Yui Hasegawa (長谷川 唯) (1997-01-29) 29 January 1997 (age 22) 40 8 Japan Nippon TV Beleza
3MF Hina Sugita (杉田 妃和) (1997-01-31) 31 January 1997 (age 22) 12 0 Japan INAC Kobe Leonessa
3MF Narumi Miura (三浦 成美) (1997-07-03) 3 July 1997 (age 22) 14 0 Japan Nippon TV Beleza
3MF Hinata Miyazawa (宮澤 ひなた) (1999-11-21) 21 November 1999 (age 19) 2 0 Japan Nippon TV Beleza

4FW Yuika Sugasawa (菅澤 優衣香) (1990-10-05) 5 October 1990 (age 29) 68 19 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds
4FW Mana Iwabuchi (岩渕 真奈) (1993-03-18) 18 March 1993 (age 26) 66 22 Japan INAC Kobe Leonessa
4FW Mina Tanaka (田中 美南) (1994-04-28) 28 April 1994 (age 25) 36 14 Japan Nippon TV Beleza
4FW Rikako Kobayashi (小林 里歌子) (1997-07-21) 21 July 1997 (age 22) 8 3 Japan Nippon TV Beleza
4FW Saori Takarada (宝田 沙織) (1999-12-27) 27 December 1999 (age 19) 3 0 Japan Cerezo Osaka
4FW Jun Endo (遠藤 純) (2000-05-24) 24 May 2000 (age 19) 9 0 Japan Nippon TV Beleza

Recent call ups[edit]

The following players have been called up to the Japan squad in the past 12 months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Chika Hirao (平尾 知佳) (1996-12-31) 31 December 1996 (age 22) 2 0 Japan Albirex Niigata v.  Canada, 6 October 2019 INJ
GK Erina Yamane (山根 恵里奈) (1990-12-20) 20 December 1990 (age 28) 26 0 Spain Real Betis 2019 SheBelieves Cup
GK Ayaka Saitō (齊藤 彩佳) (1991-08-26) 26 August 1991 (age 28) 0 0 Japan Vegalta Sendai 2019 SheBelieves Cup

DF Aya Sameshima (鮫島 彩) (1987-06-16) 16 June 1987 (age 32) 113 5 Japan INAC Kobe Leonessa v.  Canada, 6 October 2019 INJ
DF Rumi Utsugi (宇津木 瑠美) (1988-12-05) 5 December 1988 (age 30) 113 6 United States Reign FC 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup
DF Nana Ichise (市瀬 菜々) (1997-08-04) 4 August 1997 (age 22) 19 0 Japan Vegalta Sendai 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup
DF Risako Oga (大賀 理紗子) (1997-01-04) 4 January 1997 (age 22) 3 0 Japan Nojima Stella v.  Germany, 9 April 2019
DF Saori Ariyoshi (有吉 佐織) (1987-11-01) 1 November 1987 (age 31) 65 1 Japan Nippon TV Beleza 2019 SheBelieves Cup
DF Nanami Kitamura (北村 菜々美) (1999-11-25) 25 November 1999 (age 19) 0 0 Japan Cerezo Osaka Training camp, 31 January–4 February 2019
DF Aimi Kunitake (國武 愛美) (1997-01-10) 10 January 1997 (age 22) 3 0 Japan Nojima Stella v.  Norway, 11 November 2018

MF Mizuho Sakaguchi (阪口 夢穂) (1987-10-15) 15 October 1987 (age 32) 124 29 Japan Nippon TV Beleza 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup
MF Hikaru Naomoto (猶本 光) (1994-03-03) 3 March 1994 (age 25) 19 0 Germany SC Freiburg v.  Spain, 2 June 2019 PRE
MF Moeno Sakaguchi (阪口 萌乃) (1992-06-04) 4 June 1992 (age 27) 12 1 Japan Albirex Niigata 2019 SheBelieves Cup
MF Fuka Nagano (長野 風花) (1999-03-09) 9 March 1999 (age 20) 1 0 Japan Elfen Saitama Training camp, 31 January–4 February 2019
MF Nahomi Kawasumi (川澄 奈穂美) (1985-09-23) 23 September 1985 (age 34) 90 20 United States Sky Blue FC v.  Norway, 11 November 2018

FW Kumi Yokoyama (横山 久美) (1993-08-13) 13 August 1993 (age 26) 43 17 Japan Nagano Parceiro 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup
FW Riko Ueki (植木 理子) (1999-07-30) 30 July 1999 (age 20) 2 0 Japan Nippon TV Beleza 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup INJ
FW Mayu Ikejiri (池尻 茉由) (1996-12-19) 19 December 1996 (age 22) 3 0 South Korea Suwon 2019 SheBelieves Cup
FW Rika Masuya (増矢 理花) (1995-09-14) 14 September 1995 (age 24) 27 6 Japan INAC Kobe Leonessa v.  Norway, 11 November 2018

Notes:

  • INJ = Withdrew due to injury
  • PRE = Preliminary squad

Competitive record[edit]

FIFA Women's World Cup[edit]


FIFA Women's World Cup record
Hosts / Year Result GP W D* L GS GA GD
China 1991 Group stage 3 0 0 3 0 12 −12
Sweden 1995 Quarter-finals 4 1 0 3 2 8 −6
United States 1999 Group stage 3 0 1 2 1 10 −9
United States 2003 3 1 0 2 7 6 +1
China 2007 3 1 1 1 3 4 −1
Germany 2011 Champions 6 4 1 1 12 6 +6
Canada 2015 Runners-up 7 6 0 1 11 8 +3
France 2019 Round of 16 4 1 1 2 3 5 −2
Total 8/8 33 14 4 15 39 59 −20
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
FIFA Women's World Cup history
Year Round Date Opponent Result Stadium
China 1991 Group stage 17 November  Brazil L 0–1 New Plaza Stadium, Foshan
19 November  Sweden L 0–8
21 November  United States L 0–3
Sweden 1995 Group stage 5 June  Germany L 0–1 Tingvallen, Karlstad
7 June  Brazil W 2–1
9 June  Sweden L 0–2 Arosvallen, Västerås
Quarter-finals 13 June  United States L 0–4 Strömvallen, Gävle
United States 1999 Group stage 19 June  Canada D 1–1 Spartan Stadium, San Jose
23 June  Russia L 0–5 Civic Stadium, Portland
26 June  Norway L 0–4 Soldier Field, Chicago
United States 2003 Group stage 20 September  Argentina W 6–0 Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus
24 September  Germany L 0–3
27 September  Canada L 1–3 Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
China 2007 Group stage 11 September  England D 2–2 Hongkou Stadium, Shanghai
14 September  Argentina W 1–0
17 September  Germany L 0–2 Yellow Dragon Sports Center, Hangzhou
Germany 2011 Group stage 27 June  New Zealand W 2–1 Ruhrstadion, Bochum
1 July  Mexico W 4–0 BayArena, Leverkusen
5 July  England L 0–2 Impuls Arena, Augsburg
Quarter-finals 9 July  Germany W 1–0 Volkswagen-Arena, Wolfsburg
Semi-finals 13 July  Sweden W 3–1 Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt
Final 17 July  United States D 2–2 (3–1 pen)
Canada 2015 Group stage 8 June   Switzerland W 1–0 BC Place, Vancouver
12 June  Cameroon W 2–1
16 June  Ecuador W 1–0 Winnipeg Stadium, Winnipeg
Round of 16 23 June  Netherlands W 2–1 BC Place, Vancouver
Quarter-finals 27 June  Australia W 1–0 Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton
Semi-finals 1 July  England W 2–1
Final 5 July  United States L 2–5 BC Place, Vancouver
France 2019 Group stage 10 June  Argentina D 0–0 Parc des Princes, Paris
14 June  Scotland W 2–1 Roazhon Park, Rennes
19 June  England L 0–2 Allianz Riviera, Nice
Round of 16 25 June  Netherlands L 1–2 Roazhon Park, Rennes

Summer Olympics[edit]