SEVILLE, Spain — Spain closed out the worldwide break with a 1-0 win over Japan on Tuesday with an early objective from Alba Redondo. With goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita’s gloves stung by an effort from lengthy vary, Redondo slipped past the Japanese backline to race onto the unfastened ball, firing it into the highest proper nook 9 minutes into the pleasant.
Though each groups continued to trend half-chances all through the remainder of the evening, it was a sluggish affair that didn’t spark into life providing up no extra objectives.
The match served a preview for the Girls’s World Cup subsequent summer time as Spain and Japan will face one another in Group C on the event hosted in Australia and New Zealand — however the stakes actually felt decrease.
ESPN’s Sophie Lawson has response and evaluation from Estadio Olímpico de la Cartuja.
1. New-look Spain nonetheless have inquiries to reply
Within the aftermath of the dispute between the vast majority of the senior Spanish ladies’s squad on one aspect, and their coach and federation on the opposite, a new-look Spanish staff continues to take form.
Vilda fielded a raft of youthful gamers and those that lack senior worldwide expertise, but for the teething issues, these are gamers that ought to be higher suited to the skills of their coach.
For too lengthy, the supervisor would populate his staff with gamers from Barcelona and attempt to lean on the fashion related to the Blaugrana, though it not often got here collectively on the pitch for Spain. In a squad that is now populated with gamers from Actual Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Levante and different golf equipment, the coach can get again to fundamentals and steadiness out possession-heavy soccer with rather more of a direct attacking risk.
Of their first match of the month, La Roja had confronted a defensively disorganised Argentina staff that repeatedly buckled beneath strain from the hosts — however towards Japan, Spain had been requested to work extra and be smarter with the ball. Possibly drained from the extent or nonetheless making an attempt to get used to enjoying with one another, the hosts repeatedly failed when it got here to that further intelligence or finesse once they wanted it.
2. Japanese assault stays an unfinished puzzle
Having first favoured Riko Ueki to guide the road when he took over as Japan coach, Futoshi Ikeda opted to maintain the younger striker on the bench for this window’s loss towards England and Tuesday’s first half towards Spain. As a substitute, he utilised Mana Iwabuchi as a false 9 towards England earlier than introducing Mina Tanaka, who stored her spot for the beginning of the second recreation.
But, the place Iwabuchi, the skilled striker, had been capable of have an effect on play towards the Lionesses, she was low-cost with the ball when she had it towards Spain.
Certainly, Japanese assault seems to be one the place the gamers spend the home season enjoying for various golf equipment, such that when Nadeshiko might mount assaults towards La Roja, the Japanese regularly appeared disjointed. A lot wanted partnerships seem both but to take maintain, or having fizzled out over the course of the league season.
The second half introduction of Ueki gave Japan somewhat extra focus in assault and, once more, Yui Hasegawa tried to be the catalyst, positioning herself within the majority of Japan’s assaults and desperately looking for gamers to get into the house field.
The match wore on as they have a tendency to with Ikeda going to his bench to attempt to inject some life into the aspect, flipping the coin between including hungry gamers making an attempt to impress and disrupting any constructing circulation. The introduction of Fuka Nagano after the hour helped the aspect to unfold wider throughout the pitch and choose up areas between the traces — however for all the higher work in midfield, the assault remained blunted.
3. Two groups very a lot in transition however not a lot time
With each squads in a state of transition and each realizing they’re going to be enjoying one another in what’s on paper the decisive and final match of their World Cup group stage in July, it was all the time going to be powerful to make any clear pronouncements about this pleasant. Certainly, on an evening while you’d hoped for slick groups making an attempt to select one another aside, you had been left with younger squads nonetheless feeling issues out at this stage.
It will be unfair to declassify the match to the stature of a preseason pleasant or comparable, however it had that look of gamers not fairly at 100%, nonetheless making an attempt to really feel issues out, nonetheless in search of one another and a wider understanding of how their coaches need them enjoying.
For Spain and their new-look squad, that is comprehensible and acceptable — the youthful gamers Vilda has known as in amid the sudden withdrawal of the veterans will want time to stand up to hurry on the senior worldwide stage in spite of everything. But for Ikeda, who took cost of Japan after the departure of Asako Takakura following a disappointing Olympic marketing campaign final yr, that is the time in his tenure when the items ought to be slotting into place.
The Nadeshiko are usually not simply boosted with having gamers enjoying professionally all over the world, however with the arrival of the Girls Empowerment league in Japan, a full-time league that permits all of the home-based gamers to play at an expert stage. The query turns into why, when you’ve gotten all these professional gamers who perceive easy methods to play soccer and who impress on a weekly foundation for his or her home golf equipment, does it nonetheless appear like a struggling experiment when they’re introduced collectively for his or her nationwide staff?
There have been brilliant moments for the guests after the break and certainly, the Spanish defence wasn’t allowed to modify off even within the dying exchanges — however for Japan, the efficiency as soon as once more didn’t match the potential on the pitch. With simply three extra worldwide home windows earlier than groups convene for the World Cup, issues are usually not wanting too optimistic for the 2011 champions.
Spain: Misa 6, Ivana 6, Rocío 6, Olga 7, Zornoza 6, Oroz 6, Teresa 6, Redondo 7, Shelia 5, Cardona 6, Athenea 5
Subs: Oihane 5, Paralluelo 5, Nahikari 6, Fiamma 5, Pérez
Japan: Yamashita 6, Miyake 6, Shimizu 5, Minami 6, Kumagai 6, Naomoto 5, Hasegawa 6, Hayashi 6, Tanaka 5, Endo 6, Fujino 5
Subs: Ueki 6, Norimatsu 5, Sugita 6, Nagano 6, Miyazawa 5
Greatest and worst performers
BEST: Olga Carmona, Spain
The left-back had a few seems with pictures from vary, however caught to her defensive duties to do a whole lot of mopping up in entrance of Misa.
WORST: Hikaru Naomoto, Japan
The midfielder remained absent while on the pitch with Japan wanting higher as soon as she was subbed off.
Spain: Fixtures for the upcoming home windows haven’t but been introduced, however Spain are scheduled to face Costa Rica, Zambia and Japan within the World Cup’s Group C in July.
Japan: Fixtures for the upcoming home windows haven’t but been introduced, however Japan are scheduled to face Zambia, Costa Rica and Spain within the World Cup’s Group C in July.