England eliminated in Germany
Wednesday, 21 July, 2010
Mo Marley's U20s exit the World Cup after defeat to Japan.
England’s hopes at the Women’s U20 World Cup were dashed by Japan on Wednesday after a 3-1 defeat in Bielefeld.
Toni Duggan’s 83rd minute penalty was just too late to spark a comeback against a Japanese side who looked sharp in front of goal all afternoon.
Emi Nakajima had given Japan the lead in the first half, before a quick-fire double from Natsuki Kishikawa made it 3-0 and effectively sealed England’s fate.
Mo Marley’s team knew only a win would have been enough to see them through to the next round, providing there was result between Mexico and Nigeria in the group’s other game.
News of Nigeria’s 16th minute goal would no doubt have filtered through to the bench before England’s job was made all the more difficult midway through the first half when Japan took the lead.
Yuria Obara broke free on the left wing and played a slide-rule pass across the box in front of the unmarked Nakajima who sided-footed past Becky Spencer.
But this didn’t panic the Three Lions. While Japan came close with a Megumi Takase header and Nakajima saw another close-range effort blocked, England had chances to draw level.
Gilly Flaherty was unlucky not to see her shot make it through a crowd of players inside the area after a tidy move, while Michelle Hinnigan’s drive on the turn needed two attempts to gather from Japan stopper Erina Yamane.
Issy Christiansen also caused the keeper to scramble across the goal, but the ball hit the side-netting, before Toni Duggan’s first-time shot from 25 yards after dispossessing Kobayashi was just too high.
Marley made an attacking change early in the second half, replacing Hinnigan with Danielle Carter and within a minute the Arsenal striker had her first sight on goal. Showing great composure to find an opening in a busy Japanese area, she shot goalwards, but again for England it was over the bar.
Takase had another dangerous opportunity inside the final 20 minutes and though her header was well off target it was soon forgotten as Japan doubled their lead.
An free-kick from deep on Japan’s right was heading for a group of players ten yards out, and it was Japanese defender Kishikawa who got on the end of it to divert a fortuitous header/shoulder over Spencer and into the net.
Four minutes later Kishikawa wrapped up the win with her second of the game from a very similar position as her last. This one was a much cleaner strike after a low free-kick from the right was flicked on inside the area and her volley on the spin arrowed inside the post beyond Spencer’s dive.
A late penalty from Duggan after Carter had been pulled down inside the box was well-struck into the bottom left of the net, and just reward for their efforts, but ultimately not enough to keep England’s dream alive.
And despite their win, Japan also miss out on a place in the quarter-finals after Mexico’s late equaliser against Nigeria ensured they both went through instead.