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Japan put on Champion display
 Women's Football News 24 Jun 2015
 
Japan 2 (Ariyoshi 10, Sakaguchi 78) Holland 1 (van de Ven 90)
Japan are three steps away from retaining their world title after giving a slick passing display in their victory over Holland in Vancouver. 
 
A goal in each half took the World Champions into the last eight where they will face a fascinating tie against in-form Australia.
 
The Dutch did have the first attempt on goal with Sherida Spitse firing over but Japan soon settled into their renowned passing game and it brought reward with another early goal in the competition.
 
Shinobu Ohno's pass release Aya Miyama down the left and her cross was headed against the bar by Yuki Ogimi, the Dutch defence could not clear the ball and Saori Ariyoshi drove home a low shot from around twelve yards.
 
Japan continued to keep possession and looked for a second goal, almost getting their second breakthrough when Aya Sameshima played a one-two with Ohno on the edge of the area but her volley flew over the bar.
 
Ohno herself missed a good opportunity when she sent a free header wide from Ogimi's cross, meaning that the Japanese had to settle for their one-goal lead going into half time.
 
There was a scare for Holland early in the second half when Miyama fed Nahomi Kawasumi in the area and her cross took a wicked deflection of Mandy van den Berg but the ball went narrowly wide of the post.
 
Japan then had a similar escape at the other end, a Spitse corner was directed goalwards by Sameshima but Ayumi Kaihori came to her side's rescue with an instinctive save, the rebound falling for Kirsten van de Ven whose shot was blocked on the line.
 
Just over a minute later, Japan made the most of their let off by doubling their lead in emphatic fashion. Ogimi laid the ball back and Miyama dummied, allowing Mizuho Sakaguchi to curl home a delightful shot from the edge of the area.
 
Holland did not give up a grabbed themselves a lifeline in injury time. Manon Melis floated a cross into the area for van de Ven who headed goalwards and Kaihori somehow missed what looked to be a routine save, the ball squirming into the back of the net.
 
There was even another chance for the Dutch, a ball in the area picked out Vivianne Miedema but Azusa Iwashimizu's challenge was just enough to get in a block and a grateful Kaihori was able to gather safely. 
 
Japan: Ayumi Kaihori, Saori Ariyoshi, Azusa Iwashimizu, Saki Kumagai, Aya Sameshima, Mizuho Sakaguchi, Yuki Ogimi, Aya Miyama, Nahomi Kawasumi (sub Homare Sawa 80mins), Rumi Utsugi, Shinobu Ohno (sub Mana Iwabuchi 66mins).

Holland: Loes Geurts, Desiree van Lunteren, Stefanie van der Gragt, Mandy van den Berg, Merel van Dongen (sub Tessel Middag 86mins), Anouk Dekker, Manon Melis, Sherida Spitse, Vivianne Miedema, Danielle van de Donk (sub Kirsten van de Ven 53mins), Lieke Martens.

Player of the match: Mizuho Sakaguchi.


 
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