Women's World Cup Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
(All times Eastern)
Japan (2-0-0) vs. England (1-0-1), 12:15 p.m.
Augsburg, Germany (Sports Network) - Prior to the start of the Women's World
Cup, most observers expected that Tuesday's match between England and Japan
would determine which team won Group B and who would go through as the second-
And although that remains the case, how both teams have gotten to this point
has come as somewhat of a surprise.
After securing a tough 2-1 win over New Zealand, Japan put together one of the
most impressive showings so far at the tournament, crushing Mexico 4-0 to
secure a place in the quarterfinals.
"My players did a great job, especially in the first half, and they were able
to express themselves and get a great result," Japan coach Norio Sasaki said
after the win over Mexico. "It wasn't our objective to reach the quarterfinals
today, but I'm very satisfied."
Japan captain Homare Sawa scored a hat trick in the match as the Japanese
stormed out to a 3-0 lead at halftime. And after the game Mexico boss Leonardo
Cuellar said he felt that the Asian side looked like "one of the favorites for
this World Cup."
England's road has been a bit bumpier as the team was held to a 1-1 draw by
Mexico in its opening match and needed to rally from a goal down at halftime
to beat New Zealand, 2-1.
But as England defender Alex Scott said following the match with the Kiwis:
"We wouldn't be England if we didn't make it hard for ourselves. We dug a hole
for ourselves, but we've climbed back out of it and won."
Hope Powell's team has yet to put together a convincing performance in this
World Cup, and there is no way they can afford to fall behind to a team like
Japan if they want any chance at claiming all three points.
Japan will clinch the top spot in the group with a win or a draw in the match
and would then face the second-placed team from Group A, while England needs a
win to finish on top of Group B.
England owns a sizeable edge in goal difference over Mexico as well so the
team can still advance even with a loss.
07/05 00:53:48 ET