Defending champions Japan defeated Netherlands 2-1 in the round of 16 game during the Women’s World Cup at Vancouver on Tuesday. Japan now faces the Matildas in the quarterfinals. The defending champions are the only side in this edition of the tournament to have won all games so far and dominated the debutant Dutch throughout the game. Edmonton on Sunday morning will witness a cracker of a game between Japan and Australia, which eliminated star-studded Brazil earlier in another thrilling round of 16 encounter. The Matildas bowed down 1-0 to the Nadeshikos in last year’s Woman’s Asian Cup final in Vietnam.
“Japan’s passing and movement off the ball is probably the best of any team at the World Cup, so we’ve got a big assignment on our hands,” Matildas coach Alen Stajcic said.
“They’re the current World Champions and a very good team. But as I’ve said before we’re a very good team as well and we’ve been dangerous against everyone and there’s no reason we can’t be dangerous when we play Japan and be a real threat. I’m confident we can beat them but it’s going to be an extremely tough match.”
Saori Ariyoshi drew first blood and Mizuho Sakaguchi netted in the 78th minute to give Japan eves a commanding lead. Kirsten Van de Ven pulled one back to infuse some late drama in injury time. Playing their first game in nine days, the 12th-ranked Dutch side looked vulnerable from the beginning.
Earlier on Monday, sixth-ranked England edged past Norway 2-1 in another round-two game at Ottawa to set up a quarterfinal date against host Canada on Saturday. The Lionesses overcame a 1-0 deficit and blew their opponents in a stunning spell of 15 minutes in the second session notching up two goals in 61st and 76th minute. Lucy Bronze struck the win. England eves failed to win a knockout game in the last three World Cup appearances but finally managed to beat the 11 ranked Norwegians, who won the championship in 1995.