England’s FIFA Women’s U17 World Cup campaign was brought to an end by holders Japan in the quarter finals.
Goals by Jun Endo and Riko Ueki gave the Asian powerhouses a 2-0 lead at the break.
And Ueki rounded off the win with a sumptuous 25-yarder late on.
England 0-3 Japan
FIFA Women's U17 World Cup
Thursday 13 October 2016
Al Hassan International Stadium, Irbid
The Young Lionesses, who were appearing in the competition for the first time since 2008, excelled themselves by advancing from the 'group of death', but they could find no answer to Japan’s clever movement and domination of the ball.
Head coach John Griffiths was without Georgia Stanway as the Manchester City schemer was suspended after picking up two bookings in the group stage.
But they got off to the worst possible start when Endo broke the deadlock after just three minutes.
Japan countered when England lost possession in midfield. Saori Takarada crossed from the right and although Oto Konno’s close-range shot was saved by Ellie Roebuck, Endo was on-hand to convert the rebound.
Japan captain Fuka Nagano then fired over the top and Takarada shot wide as the 2014 winners began brightly.
The Lionesses had to make a change when Yeovil midfielder Jessie Jones was forced off after what looked like a blow to the chest. Chelsea’s Hollie Olding came on in her place.
And just as the game seemed to be petering towards the break, Ueki struck in the second minute of added time, after being played in by Hinata Miyazawa, to give her opponents a mountain to climb in the second half.
It might have got worse after the restart only for the woodwork to intervene as Miyazawa thumped a shot off the crossbar.
Eventually, though, England began to find their feet, and Alessia Russo forced Momoko Tanaka into a fine save with an angled drive from just inside the box.
Connie Scofield tried her luck a few minutes later when Japan failed to properly clear a corner, but her effort zipped wide of the target.
The game became stretched as the Lionesses searched for a goal that would haul them right back into the contest, and Rio Kanekatsu almost took advantage of the space afforded to her.
The left-back, who was pushed further forward in the second half, tested Roebuck from range – and the Man City keeper was equal to it.
However, there was nothing Roebuck could do as Ueki settled the tie after 80 minutes with a fantastic strike from 25 yards, undoubtedly one of the goals of the tournament.
All season Griffiths has maintained that his players must have the long-term target of making the senior squad for the 2023 World Cup – and the experience they have gained at Jordan 2016 will have done them no harm at all in that regard.
Japan will meet Spain in next week’s semi-final.
England (4-1-4-1): 1 Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City); 15 Lois Joel (Chelsea), 12 Anna Patten (Arsenal), 6 Lotte Wubben-Moy (capt; Arsenal), 3 Taylor Hinds (Arsenal); 19 Jessie Jones (Yeovil Town); 7 Alessia Russo (Chelsea), 20 Connie Scofield (Birmingham City), 18 Anna Filbey (Arsenal), 11 Niamh Charles (Liverpool); 9 Ellie Brazil (Birmingham City).
Substitutes: 4 Hollie Olding (Chelsea) for Jones 26, 17 Hannah Cain (Sheffield FC) for Filbey 57, 16 Ella Toone (Manchester City) for Joel 81.
Substitutes not used: 2 Flo Allen (Bristol City), 5 Grace Smith (Aston Villa), 8 Laura Hooper (Arsenal), 13 Katie Startup (Chelsea), 14 Kelsey Pearson (Blackburn Rovers), 21 Georgia Valentine (Reading).
Head coach: John Griffiths