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Swedes undone by rampant Japan

AFP/The Local · 14 Jul 2011, 07:26

Published: 14 Jul 2011 07:26 GMT+02:00

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Despite their nickname Nadeshiko -- a pink flower symbolising grace andbeauty -- the Japanese are proving no pushovers at Germany 2011 and having beaten the hosts 1-0 in the quarter-final, they dominated Sweden in the semi.

"In Japan, it is early in the morning, but nevertheless there were a lot of people watching back home, which gave us strength and courage," said coach Norio Sasaki.

"We wanted to give them some strength and courage back and we want to do the same thing in the final.

"The players can be very proud of what they have achieved."

Japan are in a World Cup final for the first time in their history as striker Nahomi Kawasumi netted goals either side of half-time while captain Homare Sawa capped another impressive display with her fourth goal in five games.

"As everyone saw, the Japanese were the better team," admitted Sweden coach

Thomas Dennerby.

"It was really just the first 30 minutes that we were in the game. It was a tough match for us."

There was no hint of the Japanese domination to come when Sweden striker Josefine Öqvist opened the scoring when she drilled home her shot after 10 minutes past Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori.

Her strike took a deflection off the boot of Japan defender Saki Kumagai, which lifted the ball out of Kaihori's reach, but the Asians were level soon after having noticeably raised their game in front of the 45,434 crowd.

Midfielder Aya Miyama drilled in a cross and Kawasumi wove her way through several Swedish defenders to scramble the ball home on 19 minutes.

Japan finished the first half with 62 percent of ball possesion and never relinquished their strangehold over the Swedes.

They dominated the first-half -- managing six shots on goal, with three on target, compared to Sweden's one of each -- and nearly scored in the opening minute of the second-half.

Right wing Shinobu Ohno unleashed a long-range shot from well outside the penalty area, which beat Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, but clipped the crossbar as it went out.

Story continues below…

With Sweden failing to put any consistent pressure on the Japan goal, the Nadeshiko put the game beyond their reach with two goals in four minutes.

Sawa, one of the stars of this tournament, headed home after a goal-mouth scramble on the hour mark, her fourth in five games here.

With the Swedish defence all at sea, the Japanese capitalised when midfielder Kozue Ando forced Hedvig into a hasty clearance kick and Kawasumi scored her second of the game when she lobbed her shot into an empty goal from 40 yards on 64 minutes.

It was no more than Japan deserved having dominated the game, nullifying Sweden's attack into just four shots on goal all game compared to the Japanese's 14.

In Sunday's final in Frankfurt, Japan will face the Stars and Stripes following their 3-1 win over France earlier in Moenchengladbach.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:54 July 14, 2011 by Indignerad
Japan was fantastic. I hope they humiliate the US in the final, they definitely deserve the gold more than any of the other semi finalists.
11:30 July 14, 2011 by heu
Japan wasn't that great. They were fine, they screwed up once and Sweden score because of it.

Now Sweden totally sucked! They just wouldn't play as a team. All they did was miss passes.

Well deserved victory for Japan.
12:47 July 14, 2011 by Gabin
Japan is a lite Barca.-. Visca Nihon,,,,,,,,,,,
13:16 July 14, 2011 by Jes
" We are taller , stronger and faster than the Japanese ---- we must beat them " said the Swedish commentator .

" The problem with Swedes is that they have an exeggerated opinion of themsevles ; Swedes tend to think that they are the best at everything ; they spend little time studying what other countries are doing .. " remarked a famous Swedish psycologist , after Sweden failed to win the European Song Contest in many years.

Now we know who is right .
13:51 July 14, 2011 by me_i_sverige
@Jes: I think the whole Scandinavia has an exaggerated opinion of themself.
14:08 July 14, 2011 by muscle
Well once you are good in something, its natural to exaggerate opinion of oneself. So what if they lost once. This was a lesson for them to practice more next time. This is how it goes! Japan was good no doubt, but Sweden will be even better next time when they meet the japs! ! Go Sweden!
14:09 July 14, 2011 by Tennin
Bigger doesn't always mean better.
15:16 July 14, 2011 by Twiceshy
As a Swede once told me, "we are the most humble people in the world".
15:26 July 14, 2011 by Swedesmith
Could play the same match today with a different outcome. That's sports.
16:48 July 14, 2011 by Jes
How wrong you are @muscle !

Its unnatural to exaggerate something that you otherwise know to be good at .

And Sweden has not l"lost once" For all its "perfectness" Sweden has never won the World or European champoisnship .

Listen to them now : they already arrogantly predict an eazy win against France --because ?

" France`s pace suits us ...!

Somebody needs to warn Sweden that maybe it is Sweden`s pace that suits France better . It is obvious that at the moment , France has several players that can controll the ball better and are capable is switching the pace anythime they want as they did against lucky USA .

Any you my friend , try to also consider the possibility that the Japs could be even better the next time they meet Sweden . It is safer to think that way .
18:17 July 14, 2011 by Alfred Nevada
Don't worry I still love Swedish women's team! You put up a good fight, but Japan won the day.

Now let's go beat the French women's team to win third place!!!
19:03 July 14, 2011 by Grokh
lol @Jes are insane? swedes are annoyingly humble, theyll lost against japan and were happy because japan played well...

sweden is a country that has real issues with low selfsteem they give up easyly and dont really believe in themselves half the times specially women.

you have no idea what you are talking about, if you want to complain at something complain at USA for having a horrible team that does not play football but since they have high selfsteem they think they are the best in the world when even france outplayed them, and even when sweden played terrible against them they still lost lol.
19:06 July 14, 2011 by calebian22

I am not sure which game you were watching. Even in the time from when the 2nd half started till the 79th minute and the US was playing in a coma-like state, the French only scored once. Lucky USA? I think you mean three well executed goals against the French defense. All three were highlight goals, unlike the cross/oops it was a shot, by Bompaster.
02:16 July 15, 2011 by Bushyblondehead
There was hardly any pressure on japan there were all over our players, should have put Megan in to start.
16:04 July 15, 2011 by Jes
@Grokh calls insane ; he/she thinks USA has a horrible team that does not play football .

@calebians22 asks which match I was watching ; he/she thinks USA scored well executed goals .

Well then ,someone has to be wrong . So far facts are that, it is USA `s womens team that can rightly brag that they won the World Cup . No need to mention that France ( men ) has won both the World Cup and European Championship.

Also , the remark that Swedes have low self esteem does not reconcile with the comments they make bofore the fact .
16:42 July 15, 2011 by calebian22

Obviously we were not watching the same match. In your case, it hard to watch with your head up your backside.
19:38 July 15, 2011 by Commoner
Well, the tactic of the swedish team specially after the first helf was very bad. Lotta schelin was the only Forward(Anfallare)...& she had atleast 4 defenders every time she got the ball. After the other forward got injured, the game just went bad. The swedish coach send her help in the last minutes. Had he thought of it earlier, the results could have been different Perhaps.
20:28 July 15, 2011 by Jes

yes , we watched the same match - I mean the one between USA and France .

But no , we are not looking at the same picture of Women`s World Cup 2011.

I insist that USA was lucky not have been knocked out by Brazil . I insist that France did not have a terrible match against them though . I say that France has improved while USA is still one of the teams that can really claim to be steady . I conclude that Sweden has no reason to say that it is just going outhere to beat up France . I say that France is capable of dealing with Sweden , whatever the pace .

If you must disagree with some one , why don`t you try reminding @Grokh that a team that has won a medal in each and every World Cup / Olympics they have participated in cannot be called "a horrible team that does not play football" ?

And what do you mean "your head UP your BACKSIDE" . You want to sound fresh , better sharpen your English first
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