My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Saori Ariyoshi 10, Mizuho Sakaguchi 78
Kirsten van de Ven 90+2
Japan made six changes from the team that beat Ecuador 1-0. Ayumi Kaihori returned in goal, replacing Miho Fukumoto. Their other changes saw Azusa Iwashimizu, Saki Kumagai, Mizuho Sakaguchi, Nahomi Kawasumi and Rumi Utsugi come in.
Netherlands played the same team that had drawn against Canada in their final group game.
Netherlands started strongly, and good possession play saw them approach the Japanese box, but after failing to find a route into the box, Sherida Spitse tried her luck from distance, however, it never looked like troubling the goal. The Lieke Martens sent Manon Melis into the box, but at the crucial moment she slips, and the chance goes.
But then Japan took the lead. Aya Miyama’s cross picks out Yuki Ogimi whose header hits the crossbar. Merel van Dongen scuffed her clearance and there was Saori Ariyoshi to fire the ball into the bottom-left corner. That was her first international goal for Japan.
Netherlands nearly had an immediate reply. Melis put a tantalising cross into the box, but Vivianne Miedema and Martens could’t get something onto the ball.
Japan started to turn on the style. Aya Sameshima made a surging run, she passed to Shinobu Ohno who played a first-time dink through-ball over the centre-backs but from 6-yards out, Sameshima volleyed over. Nahomi Kawasumi’s cross nearly picked out Shinobu Ohno who couldn’t get her head onto it, but sliding in was Rumi Utsugi who couldn’t get enough contact to divert the ball goalwards.
On the stroke of half-time, Ogimi picked out Ohno, but her header went wide.
The Netherlands started the second half like the first, with great possession play, but it is Anouk Dekker whose long range effort goes over. Then Martens sparkling run won a free-kick just outside the Japanese box, but Spitse’s effort hit the wall.
The Dutch then nearly handed Japan a second. A quick break saw Miyama played into the box, and her cut-back took a large deflection off van Dongen and the ball only just rolled past the right post.
However, the Netherlands were starting to find their feet. Melis picked out Miedema, who couldn’t find a way to turn, therefore she picked out Kirsten van den Ven who shot into the side-netting.
The Dutch came so close to an equaliser. Spitse whipped in a dangerous corner, and the ball hit Aya Sameshima but Kaihori made a wonder save to save her defender’s blushes. Japan failed to clear, but van de Ven’s shot was blocked by Mizuho Sakaguchi.
And then Japan doubled their lead. Japan broke quickly into the box, but they displayed great patience as they kept the ball well. Utsugi passed to Sakaguchi on the edge of the box and she curled the ball beautifully into the left corner.
Netherlands came back, with Martens having an effort going over and then Kirsten van de Ven breaking into thebox and shooting straight at Kaihori.
But in the 92nd minute, they did pull a goal back through a howler. Melis’ cross picked out van de Ven whose header looked like a regulation save, but it hit Kaihori’s arm and went over the line.
Miedema had one of her shots blocked, but there was not enough time left for the Dutch to force extra-time.
Aya Miyama – Japan
Japan: (4-4-2) Ayumi Kaihori, Saori Ariyoshi, Azusa Iwashimizu, Saki Kumagai, Aya Sameshima, Nahomi Kawasumi (Homare Sawa 80), Mizuho Sakaguchi, Rumi Utsugi, Aya Miyama, Yuki Ogimi, Shinobu Ohno (Mana Iwabuchi 66).
Goals: Saori Ariyoshi 10, Mizuho Sakaguchi 78.
Booked: Saori Ariyoshi 50
Netherlands: (4-3-3) Loes Geurts, Desiree van Lunteren, Stefanie van der Gragt, Mandy van den Berg, Merel van Dongen (Tessel Middag 86), Anouk Dekker, Danielle van de Donk (Kirsten van de Ven 53), Sherida Spitse, Manon Melis, Vivianne Miedema, Lieke Martens.
Goal: Kirsten van de Ven 90+2