Women's World Cup: Scotland Hopes in Disarray After Japan Register 2-1 Win
Women's World Cup 2019: Mana Iwabuchi and Sugawasa scored both of Japan's goals in the first half as they beat Scotland 2-1 to go on top of Group D.
2015 Women's World Cup runner-up Japan registered their first win of the 2019 edition. (Photo Credit: Twitter/FIFA Women's World Cup)
Japan beat Scotland 2-1 in their second Women's World Cup 2019 match in Rennes on Friday and put behind a disappointing start to the campaign and stayed on course to make it past the group stage.
For Scotland, on the other hand, it was all over at this year's tournament as they lost their second straight match, following their opening 2-1 loss to England.
Japan, who were held 0-0 by Argentina in their World Cup opener, came out all guns blazing against Scotland as they recognised the need to win this match and get some goal difference in their favour.
Japan and England were the favourites to advance from Group D but Japan's opening draw threw the group open. However with this win, Japan are now on top of the table with four points, England are second with three and Argentina third with one.
England and Argentina will take on each other later in the day.
It provided for a great visual when after winning the match, all the Japanese players lined-up in front of their supporters and bowed to acknowledge their support.
(Photo Credit: Reuters)
Japan are the 2011 World Cup winners and runner-up in 2015 but after the first two matches, they have looked far from convincing even as they had a bright start in the first half on Friday.
Japan deployed their build-up play smartly early on as they used the wings and put pressure on Scotland to peg them behind. Scotland came into the match after an encouraging second half performance against England but they were pressurised early on by Japan and the Asian nation reaped rewards in the 23rd minute.
Mana Iwabuchi scored a brilliant goal after she was left quite a bit of space on the left edge of the box. She took a calm touch on the ball after receiving it and fired it home with power that took it well beyond the Scottish goalkeeper.
Post the goal, Japan stayed forward even more as Scotland struggled to get anything going in their favour. In the 31st minute, Scotland even had to clear the ball off the line to keep themselves in the game.
In the 36th minute, Sugasawa made a darting run in the box and Corsie lightly pulled her shirt at which point the Japanese went down. The referee took no time and straightaway pointed at the penalty spot.
Sugawasa stepped up and slotted in comfortably to put Japan 2-0 up. Japan came close to adding a third just before half time when Hina Sugita hit the post. Scotland had a disastrous first half and their body language also did not show any sort of urgency.
However, all of that changed in the second half - Japan's intensity dropped off while Scotland picked up around the 70th minute mark.
Scotland came close in the 66th minute but it was in the 78th minute when they banged the door. Scotland were gifted a free kick near the byline on the right and Weir swung in the cross near the far post. Japan failed to clear the ball and Cuthbert shot on goal but at the woodwork.
After keeping incessant pressure on Japan, Lana Clelland pulled one back for Scotland as she found herself in a lot of space with the ball that was gifted to her by Ichise. She fired in a brilliant long-ranger to get Scotland back in the game but it eventually turned out to be the same story for Scotland - a good second half showing but nothing out of it.
This was Japan's sixth straight win against a European opposition in the Women's World Cup.
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