The Japanese women’s national team has secured its place in the Olympic semifinals, as Nadeshiko Japan won 2-0 against Brazil on Friday. The opening goal was scored by Yuki Ogimi 27 minutes into the game, followed by a second from Shinobu Ohno at 73 minutes. While it may have earned the team some heavy criticism, it looks like the plan by Norio Sasaki, Nadeshiko Japan‘s coach, to earn a draw against South Africa paid off, as the Japanese women will be playing against France in the semifinals on Monday.
Despite only possessing control of the for 36%, Japan made excellent use of that time, scoring two out of their four shots on the goal, and stopping cold all seven of Brazil‘s. Shinobu Ohno managed to take a shot within the first minute of the game, and while it was blocked, she got her second chance in the later half of the match played in Wales’ Millennium Stadium. Brazilian all-star Marta Vieira da Silva earned herself a yellow card from the referees at the 49-minute mark.
While Nadeshiko Japan won their opening Olympic match against Canada 2-1, and tied 0-0 with Sweden afterwards, it the last match with South Africa which saw the team focusing strictly on defense with the intention of getting another 0-0 draw. Coach Norio Sasaki explained that it had nothing to with trying to be paired up with a “weaker” team in the quarterfinals, but rather with preventing his team from having to make the eight-hour travel to Scotland the day before playing a match in the event they had won.