Fifa Women's World Cup: Defending champs Japan enter QFs

  • Reuters, Vancouver
  • Updated: Jun 24, 2015 12:02 IST

Defending champions Japan booked the only remaining place in the quarter-final lineup of the Fifa Women's World Cup on Tuesday with an impressive 2-1 win over the Netherlands.

The only team in the tournament to have won every game, Japan dominated the Dutch debutants with their speed and skill and move on to Edmonton and a Saturday meeting with Australia, who booked their last eight spot with an upset of Brazil.

An early strike from Saori Ariyoshi and a 78th-minute missile from Mizuho Sakaguchi accounted for Japan's scoring, while Kirsten Van De Ven provided some late drama when her tame injury-time header somehow found its way past a static Ayumi Kaihori.

Playing their first match in nine days, the Netherlands looked rusty and were fortunate to reach the break just 1-0 down after Japan dominated the opening half, generating chance after chance and hammering 13 shots at the Dutch goal.

But the Netherlands came to life in the second and were close to finding an equaliser in the 75th minute off a wild scramble from a corner, Kaihori blocking the initial goal-bound deflection before Van De Ven had her blast blocked on the line.

Despite the close call, the Japanese refused to panic and the 'Nadeshiko' calmly worked the ball down the field with Sakaguchi providing a thundering finish to some superb buildup play that included a cheeky backheel pass and dummy run.

Saturday's match against Australia will be a repeat of last year's Women's Asian Cup final that the Japanese won 1-0 in Vietnam.

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