Hosting nation Japan beat Mexico in a painful 4-1 opening match of the under-20 Women’s World Cup. As the leading team in Group A, Japan’s Hanae Shibata scored the first goal 32 minutes into Sunday’s game, while Hikaru Naomoto, Kumi Yokoyama, and Yoko Tanaka followed up with three more in the second half. Playing at Miyagi Stadium, the younger siblings of Nadeshiko Japan, the senior team that just won the silver medal at the London Olympics, were seen to have the Mexican team running wild across the field with their quick passes and shots at the goal from afar.
Mexico’s Sofia Huerta scored the only goal for her team, but unfortunately it was far too late into the match. Hiroshi Yoshida, Japan’s coach, said that Sunday’s victory was the exact strong start to the tournament they were looking for. Japan is hoping to have a repeat of the 2011 Women’s World Cup victory that the senior team achieved.
In other Group A match, New Zealand won 2-1 against Switzerland. And in the Group B matches, Nigeria beat South Korea 2-0, while Brazil and Italy finished with a 1-1 draw. The opening rounds continue on Monday in Hiroshima, with the U.S. team facing Ghana, and China playing against the defending champions Germany.
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