The Japanese women’s national football team, more popularly known as the Nadeshiko Japan, proved that they really are a force to reckon with as they overcame being a goal down to beat Sweden. They will now face European champions Germany in the finals of the Algarve Cup on Wednesday in a bid to add this title to their long line of achievements.
Sweden looked on course to topping the group and moving on to the finals when they scored a through Linda Sembrant at the 42nd minute. But Japan came back strong in the second half and soon equalized when Yuki Ogimi took advantage of a poor back pass to beat the keeper on a fast break. All Sweden needed was a draw to top the group and advance to the finals and it looked like they were heading for that, until the 89th minute when the referee awarded a penalty to Japan after Swedish defender Wind Sembrant handled the ball inside the area. Aya Miyama took the penalty to hand Japan the win and a meeting with the other group’s top team, Germany.
Olympic gold medalists, the United States disappointingly finished at the bottom of Group B, after a draw with the Nadeshiko and consecutive losses to Sweden and then Denmark. Germany won all three of its games to top Group A and is looking forward to playing an entertaining final with Japan. Germany’s coach Doris Fitschen believe that the World Cup winners have a “very strong team” and that viewers will definitely have something to look forward to when the two teams play each other on Wednesday.
[ via Sports Illustrated ]