My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
The World Champions Japan started the defence of their trophy with a narrow 1-0 victory. The only goal of the game came from a contentious penalty decision as the Swiss keeper Gaelle Thalmann was adjudged to have brought down Kozue Ando in the box. Aya Miyama converted the chance with the perfect penalty.
Japan had the first chance from the game’s first corner. The Swiss defence was stationary, as Miyama’s cross reached the far post where Azusa Iwashimizu headed over.
Switzerland showed what they were capable of soon after. Rachel Rinast made a surging run from her own half and kept on going until she threaded Bachmann into the box who forced Yamane into a wonderful save from close distance.
Japan then went very close. Saori Ariyoshi did well down the right and she crossedalongthe ground towards YukiOgmi who was forced off the ball by Lia Waelti, and the ball is just behind Ando at the far post. Minutes later, a teasing ball from Miyami sent Ariyoshi into the box. Two Swiss defendersi almost took each other out, and despite Ariyoshi’s poor first touch going out, a corner was given. Japan couldn’t take advantage of that generosity from the officials.
But then they won a contentious penalty. Ogimi played the ball over the top to Ando whose chipped shot was saved by Thalmann, who was adjudged to have then taken out the Japanese player. After a long period due to Thalmann and Ando getting treatment, Miyama placed the penalty into the bottom left corner.
Switzerland responded with a short corner, where Ramona Bachmann’s ball picked out Ana Maria Crnogorecevic who headed wide.
Miyama played a beautiful ball to Mizuho Sakaguchi in the box, who took a touch to bring the ball down, but this meant when she shot, it was by Caroline Abbe.
Switzerland had the last chance of the half as wonderful skill from Bachmann down the left saw her beat several players, before cutting off the wing and shooting from just outside the box – but she could only watch as the ball went narrowly wide of the near post.
Both sides had half chances early in the second half, with Sakaguchi missing from close range and Vanessa Bernauer blasting the ball over.
Then, a scintillating run starting at the half-way line from Bachmann nearly ended with a remarkable goal. She beat one, two, three, then broke into the box, took it wide off the keeper but slipped as she tried to turn, allowing Ariyoshi to clear behind.
Bachmann was at it again soon after. She broke into the box, but her cross is turned behind. The corner was played by to Rinast who, from 40 yards, launched the ball into the box where Abbe’s header was well saved by Yamane.
Good fortune allowed the ball to fall to Yuika Sugasawa, who span and then shot from just outside the box and watched the ball clip the right post and go behind.
But Switzerland kept on coming. Bachmann’s corner was spilt by Yamane, but before Crnogorcevic could get the decisive finish, Japan cleared. Then Dickenmann played a delightful dink over the back four to Bachmann, but she could only hit the side netting.
And in stoppage time, Switzerland had one last chance delivered to them on a plate. A long ball was played dangerously into the box, where Nahomi Kawasumi passed it straight to Bachmann, who from 10 yards blasted the ball over.
Woman of the Match
I’m going for Ramona Bachmann, who although she missed some glorious chances was behind everything good about Switzerland.
Japan: Yamane, Ariyoshi, Iwashimizu, Kumagai, Utsugi, Ohno (Kawasumi 90), Sakaguchi, Sawa (Kawamura 57), Miyama, Ogimi, Ando (Sugasawa 32).
Goal: Miyama (pen 29)
Switzerland: Thalmann, Maritz, Abbe, Waelti, Rinast, Humm (Aigbogun 45), Moser (Zehnder 81), Bernauer, Crnogorcevic, Bachmann, Dickenmann.
Booked: Bachmann 22, Thalmann 28, Abbe 90+3.