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Japan U17 3 (Endo 2, Ueki 45,79) England U17 0
England are out of the FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup after going down to a very strong Japan side in their quarter final tie.
It was never going to be an easy task for England against the country defending the title and who had won all of their group games, and this was to be even harder without Georgia Stanway who missed the match through suspension.
However any hopes of keeping things tight during the opening stages were blown away with just two minutes on the clock. After losing possession on the edge of the Japanese penalty area, Japan counter attacked and Saori Takanada's accurate low cross picked out Riko Ueki whose shot was saved by Ellie Roebuck but Jun Endo was on hand to tuck home the rebound and give Japan the lead.
The goal clearly settled Japan into their familiar pattern of play but it was a long ball that caught England out on ten minutes, chased down by Fuka Nagano who raced clear on goal but the Japanese captain shot wastefully over the bar with only Roebuck to beat.
Takanada shot wide at the far post following good work on the left from Rio Kanekatsu but, although losing Jessie Jones to injury, England began to settle down and come more into the game as an attacking force.
England won a couple of free kicks in dangerous positions but both resulted in disappointing deliveries which were easily dealt with. Despite the hard work of Ellie Brazil up front and Niamh Charles out wide, they were unable to fashion a clear cut chance on goal.
In the final minute of the half, another clinical counter attack from Japan ended with Endo sliding a through ball into the path of Ueki and she gave Roebuck no chance with a lethal finish to double her side's lead.
Japan started the second half on the front foot and should really have made it three within six minutes of the restart when Takanada released Hinata Miyazawa in the area and after cutting back onto her right foot, she crashed her shot against the underside of the bar, the ball bouncing on the line before being cleared.
England were then to produce their best chance so far, just before the hour when Alessia Russo had the chance to run at the Japanese defence and outpaced her marker before unleashing a shot which looked destined for the far corner but Momoko Tanaka pulled off a good diving save and Miyu Takahira did well to prevent Brazil from slotting home the rebound.
Now England were starting to look a threat and a corner nearly led to them pulling a goal back, Tanaka's weak punch only went as far as Connie Scofield but the midfielder was unlucky to see her goalbound shot hit one of her team mates before bouncing harmlessly wide.
Japan were still a threat going forward though and Kanekatsu made a dangerous run which saw her carry the ball for around 50 yards unchecked before her shot was saved by Roebuck at the second attempt. Moments later, Remina Chiba cut in from the left and her effort bobbled awkwardly in front of Roebuck who did well to recover and gather under pressure.
Another chance came Japan's way when Ueki challenged Roebuck as she cleared, the ball rolling straight to Endo who shot wastefully wide, although Lois Joel had just done enough to prevent her getting in a clear shot.
At the other end, Russo almost dragged England back into the game with an angled shot which was blocked on the line but a minute later, Japan struck a devastating third blow. Ueki picked the ball up on the halfway line and ran at the England defence, carrying the ball to around 20 yards out before drilling an unstoppable shot into the top corner, past a helpless Roebuck.
Seira Kojima hit the side netting as Japan sought more goals against a desperately tired England side but, with the excellent Lotte Wubben-Moy and Anna Patten managing to hold firm, they made sure of not conceding again.
Whilst the final result was obviously a disappointing one for the England side, they can look back on a good achievement of reaching the last eight and only going out to arguably the best side in the competition.
Japan U17: Momoko Tanaka, Reina Wakisaka, Miyu Takahira, Riko Ushijima, Rio Kanekatsu (sub Mayu Karahashi 82mins), Saori Takanada, Hinata Miyazawa (sub Seira Kojima 74mins), Riko Ueki, Fuka Nagano, Jun Endo, Oto Kanno (sub Remina Chiba 60mins). Subs not used: Chiaki Kogure, Mayu Mizuguchi, Nano Ono, Hana Takahashi, Miyu Tomita, Nanami Kitamura, Sakura Nojima.
England U17: Ellie Roebuck, Lois Joel (sub Ella Toone 80mins), Taylor Hinds, Jessie Jones (sub Hollie Olding 25mins), Anna Patten, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Alessia Russo, Anna Filbey (sub Hannah Cain 57mins), Ellie Brazil, Connie Scofield, Niamh Charles. Subs not used: Katie Startup, Georgia Valentine, Flo Allen, Grace Smith, Laura Hooper, Kelsey Pearson.
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