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SheBelieves Cup: Japan 23-player roster announced

SheBelieves Cup: Japan announces 23-player roster led by Saki Kumagai

February 25, 2020 By Juan Aguerrevere
Manager Asako Takakura submitted his 23-player roster and captain Kumagai is scheduled to join the team late.

Japan enters the SheBelieves Cup hoping to improve its third-place debut in 2019. The Nadeshiko had a terrific start to their 2019 SheBelieves Cup run drawing level with the USWNT, 2-2, followed by a 3-1 victory over Brazil. It all looked well for the Asian nation until Phil Neville and the Lionesses spoiled the party in the penultimate match of the competition demolishing Japan 3-0. The result saw England as champions and Japan in the third position.

Three months later, Japan was knocked out of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup by the Netherlands who scored a 90th-minute penalty via Lieke Martens. In addition, Japan dropped a game against England, once again, increasing the value in competition for the upcoming fixture between the two on March 11.

Japan SheBelieves Cup roster

Goalkeepers (3): Sakiko Ikeda (Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies), Ayaka Yamashita (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza, Chika Hirao (Albirex Niigata Ladies)

Defenders (7): Saki Kumagai (Olympique Lyonnais, note: she will arrive in March 2), Arisa Matsubara (Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara), Shiori Miyake (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Mayo Doko (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza), Risa Shimizu (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza), Asato Miyagawa (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza), Moeka Monami (Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies)

Midfielders (7): Emi Nakajima (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Hikaru Naomoto (Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies), Yuka Momiki (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza), Yui Hasegawa (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza), Hina Sugita (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Narumi Miura (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza), Jun Endo (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza)

Forwards (6): Yuika Sugasawa (Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies), Mana Iwabuchi (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Mina Tanaka (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Mami Ueno (Ehime FC Ladies), Mayu Ikejiri (Mynavi Vegalta Sendai Ladies), Rikako Kobayashi (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza)

Japan seeks revenge on England 

England clearly dominated Japan in 2019. A 3-0 loss in the SheBelieves Cup and a 2-0 loss at France 2019 has created a sense of urgency amongst Takakura’s squad.

The Spanish will be Japan’s first test in the tournament. Ranked No. 13 in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking (women), Spain is the first nation outside of the top-10 to enter the SheBelieves Cup. With that in mind, Japan will look to win that first game to build up momentum for its big clash against England.

The Nadeshiko will then play the USWNT in their last match and if everything goes according to plan, a win will mean SheBelieves Cup glory.


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