COVENTRY, Britain—World champion Japan scored twice in the first half and then held on for a 2-1 win over Canada in its opening game of the women's Olympic football tournament on July 25.
Nahomi Kawasumi put the Japanese ahead in the 33rd minute and Aya Miyama doubled the lead in the 44th to put the favorites firmly in control at the City of Coventry Stadium.
Miyama latched on to a pass into the penalty area and produced a classy backheel to set up Kawasumi, who made no mistake with a powerful shot from close range.
Miyama then scored herself, taking advantage of a defensive mix up to angle a header past Canadian goalkeeper Erin Mclead.
Melissa Tancredi pulled one back from close range for Canada 10 minutes after the break, taking Rhian Wilkinson's low cross from the right wing and skipping in front of defender Yukari Kinga to score.
Japan, which upset the United States to win the Women's World Cup last year, started dominantly against the Canadians and only allowed a few opportunities in the first half.
Japan coach Norio Sasaki was happy with the result, although he expects an improvement in his team's next game against Sweden.
“I think it was all about the defense today,” he said. “We could run more than Canada and from the defense through to the attack everyone went for the ball.”
Sasaki said his team could have created even more chances.
“We could have improved and there were a lot of mistakes in the decisions for the passes,” he said.
Canada made it more difficult in the second half with some sustained, composed play that led to Tancredi's goal.
Japan missed an early chance when Japan right back Kinga floated a ball into the box and Homare Sawa volleyed over the bar in the fifth minute.
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