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Women’s World Cup Rewind: Japan beats Netherlands to complete quarterfinal field

Netherlands v Japan Round of 16 - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015


Japan’s quest for a second consecutive Women’s World Cup trophy is alive, but only after the 2011 champions pulled out a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Netherlands on the back of a golazo from Mizuho Sakaguchi.

Japan reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup with the Tuesday win, and it controlled much of the match against the Netherlands, who only pieced together a handful of opportunities over the course of the 90 minutes.

The Asian side took the lead with a goal from Saori Ariyoshi in the 10th minute. Ariyoshi hit a low strike to slot home the rebound from a Yuki Ogimi header that bounced off the crossbar.

Japan had a possible own goal pawed off the line by their goalkeeper in the first half, but otherwise it was smooth sailing.

Sakaguchi doubled Japan’s lead in the 78th minute with a wonder strike. Following a beautiful sequence that included a perfectly-timed dummy, Sakaguchi struck from outside the box into the high left corner of the net to give her side a two-goal lead and would-be winner.

In stoppage time, the Netherlands managed to pull one back through a Kirsten Van de Ven header, but the result was already secure for the title-holders.

Japan will play next on Saturday, squaring off against Australia in the quarterfinals.


What did you think of Japan’s win? Could you see them repeating as champions?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The match last evening was a delight to watch. Japan’s smooth flowing possession game was amazing with one or two touch passing, no look backheels and skilled off the ball movement. That team is very good. The goalie error was the only real blemish. And yet, for some reason, the media rarely mention them. IMHO, they will be in the finals and are a threat to win their second WWC in a row.

    • I agree that the lack of media attention for Japan is puzziling. They are reigning world champs, one of two teams that had a perfect group stage, are on the easy side of the bracket and play beautifully. They should clearly be touted as “the team to beat.”

    • because they arent the strongest team in the tournament? They won every group stage game by 1-0 scoreline, including a 1-0 win over a team that the other 2 in their group beat by 5+ goal margins. Japan has alot of skill but a toothless attack and theyll be lucky to make the finals

      • You forgot to mention they also had the easiest group and round of 16 games. I think the Aussies can give them a go on Saturday but Japan has an easier rout to the final then the other bracket.

  2. What was Japan’s GK doing on the goal she gave up? Was that a pear-shaped attempt to chest the ball to her feet and kill a few seconds?


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