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Japan too strong for valiant England
 Women's Football England International News - 21 Aug 2018
England's hopes of reaching the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup Final were brought to an end as they were beaten 2-0 by an excellent Japanese side.
Mo Marley's side were appearing at this stage of the tournament for the first time but were undone by first half goals from Riko Ueki and Jun Endo and were never able to recover.
It didn't take long for Japan to gain control of proceedings with their neat, short passing game and they deservedly took the lead on 22 minutes. Some patient build up play allowed Japan to advance into the final third where Endo found Ueki on the edge of the area, where she held off a challenge from Anna Patten before drilling a low shot past Sandy MacIver.
Ueki almost scored a second when her shot from long range hit the bar, Endo following up to coolly nod the rebound into the empty net.
It might have got even worse for England shortly before half time but Fuka Nagano's shot crashed against the post.
The second half saw fewer chances at either end with Japan happy to sit on their lead and England were never able to fashion a clear cut chance in front of goal.
Alessia Russo headed wide from a Lauren Hemp cross but for once, England's talented forward line were struggling to make an impression as they were well shackled by the Japanese defence.
The introduction of Rinsola Babajide and Niamh Charles as substitutes did give England some fresh impetus going forward and the two nearly combined to provide a goal, Charles being just unable to reach a Babajide cross which flashed across the face of goal.
Georgia Stanway drilled a half chance wide late on and it was the last chance for an England side which was bitterly disappointed at the final whistle.
Japan will therefore take on Spain in the Final whilst England are up against hosts France in the third place play-off match on Friday afternoon (3pm).
England: 1 Sandy MacIver, Anna Patten, Mayumi Pacheco, Mollie Rouse, Grace Frisk, Megan Finnigan, Alessia Russo (sub Rinsola Babajide 67mins), Lauren Hemp, Georgia Stanway, Chloe Peplow, Chloe Kelly (sub Niamh Charles 67mins). Subs not used: Georgia Allen, Ali Johnson, Ellie Roebuck, Emily Ramsey, Esme Morgan, Taylor Hinds, Charlie Wellings, Zoe Cross.

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