Women's next Olympic Football Tournament London 2012
Japan, Korea DPR win endurance battle
(FIFA.com) Monday 12 September 2011
Japan and Korea DPR came out on top of a hugely-competitive and intense 11-day competition to win through to next year’s Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in London. The pair put aside vastly contrasting experiences at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ to ensure a top-two finish in the six-nation competition, which concluded on Sunday. Just six weeks since a downpour of gold ticker-tape in Frankfurt heralded the beginning of their reign as world champions, Japan managed to successfully refocus their energies despite their new-found, and potentially distracting, standing as national heroines.
Champions confirm class
Despite the intensity of competition, Japan were able to provide validation of their world champions tag. An undefeated run of four wins from five was impressive, with a perfect record denied only by an injury-time Korea DPR equaliser.
Japan were able to field virtually all of their FIFA Women’s World Cup-winning squad, including adidas Golden Ball winner Homare Sawa. However, in contrast to their free-scoring displays in Germany, the Nadeshiko managed just eight goals across their five matches. Leading the charge with two goals apiece was the unlikely figure of defender Asuna Tanaka, and two-goal hero from July’s semi-final win against Sweden, Nahomi Kawasumi.
"We felt under pressure but got through with our team solidarity."
Japan midfielder Aya Miyama
Japan’s resolve and focus was in display in the final round where, despite having guaranteed qualification on the penultimate matchday, a hard-working performance was enough to beat the host nation by a solitary goal. “We felt under pressure but got through with our team solidarity,” said midfielder Aya Miyama, who racked up a century of caps during the competition. “I hope we can develop our game further while each one of us is playing for our own club team.”
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