Nadeshiko Japan earned a berth at the 2012 London Olympics on Sept. 8, thanks to Australia's 1-0 victory over host China in an Asian qualifying match a few hours after Japan and North Korea had drawn 1-1.
Next summer will mark the fourth time reigning World Cup champion Japan has qualified for the Olympics in women's soccer, and the third Games in a row after Athens and Beijing.
Earlier on Sept. 8, North Korea scored in second-half injury time to put Japan's Olympic berth on hold in a match in Jinan, China.
A left-footer from inside the Japan area by Kim Jo Ran found the target after a defensive miscue, tying the match 1-1 after the Nadeshiko had opened the scoring in the 82nd minute on a North Korean own-goal.
Japan still tops the six-team Asian qualifying group with 10 points from three wins and a draw at the round-robin tournament being played in China.
Japan scored in the 82nd minute against the run of play as the younger North Koreans were the more aggressive side for most of the match. Yuki Nagasato met a long pass in the North Korean area and stretched to direct a shot at goal. North Korean goalkeeper Jo Yun Mi blocked the shot, but the rebound caromed in off defender Kim Nam Hui.
The North Koreans kept applying the pressure, however, and it paid off in injury time when midfielder Kim took advantage of a missed clearance attempt by Japan defender Yukari Kinga, scoring to give her team a well-deserved point at a near-empty Shandong Sports Center in Jinan.
Japan started the tournament with a 3-0 win over Thailand, followed up by a 2-1 defeat of South Korea and a 1-0 win over Australia. Their final match of the six-team round-robin Asian qualifiers is Sept. 11 against host China.
In the North Korea match, Nadeshiko coach Norio Sasaki elected to start Nahomi Kawasumi and Yuki Nagasato up front in a 4-4-2 formation.
Just before the first-half whistle, the North Koreans sent in a long ball that bounced awkwardly in front of Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori. Kaihori managed to bat the ball out of harm's way and an evenly played first half ended scoreless.
North Korea carried the play in the second half, but Japan did muster a chance when Yuki Nagasato headed over the bar in the 62nd minute.
- « Prev
- Next »