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Where EAST meets the Northwest


Japan, China, others hope to advance to WWC knockout round

The Asian Reporter, June 17, 2019, pages 1, 7 & 8.

CONTENDING FOR THE CUP. Yuika Sugasawa (#9, top) of Japan heads the ball next to Miriam Mayorga (#14) of Argentina during a Women’s World Cup (WWC) Group D soccer match between Argentina and Japan at Parc des Princes in Paris, France. Japan, China, and other countries are hoping to advance to the WWC’s knockout round, which begins June 22. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

WOMEN’S WORLD CUP. Hina Sugita of Japan watches the ball during a Women’s World Cup soccer match between Argentina and Japan in Paris, France. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #12 (June 17, 2019), page 7.

Japan holds off Scotland 2-1 at Women’s World Cup

RENNES, France (AP) — Mana Iwabuchi had an early goal and Japan held off a late charge from Scotland for a 2-1 victory in group play at the Women’s World Cup.

Iwabuchi, who was on the Japanese team that won the World Cup in 2011, scored in the 23rd minute to give Japan its first goal of the tournament. Yuika Sugasawa converted a penalty in the 37th minute to pad the lead going into the break.

Lana Clelland’s left-footed shot went into the top right corner of the net in the 87th minute as Scotland furiously worked to break through Japan’s defense.

Japan played to a scoreless draw against Argentina in its opener and needed the confidence-boost win in advance of its final group match against England looming.

Scotland has now dropped both of its matches so far in France, after opening with a 1-2 loss to England. The team will play Argentina in its group-stage final.

* * *

TOUGH TOURNAMENT. China’s Liu Shanshan (#2, top) jumps over South Africa’s Leandra Smeda as they fight for a ball during a Women’s World Cup Group B soccer match between China and South Africa at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, on June 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #12 (June 17, 2019), page 7.

China beats South Africa 1-0 to set up decider vs. Spain at Women’s World Cup

By Jerome Pugmire

The Associated Press

PARIS — China is back on track at the Women’s World Cup after a 1-0 win against South Africa.

China evened itself with Spain for second place in Group B with three points, and now focuses on its next match and the push to join group leader Germany in the last 16.

Forward Li Ying put 1999 runner-up China ahead in the 40th minute with an opportunist effort. Meeting Zhang Rui’s right-wing cross, she got ahead of her marker and poked the ball into the bottom right corner.

China lost 0-1 to two-time champion Germany in its opening match. South Africa was beaten 1-3 by Spain and now has two losses.

Forward Thembi Kgatlana scored against Spain and was South Africa’s most dangerous player against China, with a chance to equalize in the 76th.

Pouncing on a loose ball inside the left of the penalty area, her shot hit defender Lin Yuping near her right shoulder. There were calls for a penalty kick, but no video review was done.

South Africa is the lowest-ranked team playing, but China worked hard for its win while keeping a close watch on Kgatlana. She made two strong runs in the first half, one down each flank, but her rushed passing let her down each time.

Kgatlana caused problems after the halftime break with her speed and well-timed runs, although she was isolated and not adequately supported.

China will need to improve its finishing against Spain, for the miss of the game came from forward Gu Yasha.

She burst down the left and, after South Africa captain Janine Van Wyk slipped over, smacked the ball so wide it almost went out for a throw-in.

South Africa goalkeeper Kaylin Swart made two smart, late saves, the second a fine finger-tip effort from substitute Yang Li’s curling effort in the 90th minute.

The 48,000-capacity Parc des Princes stadium was less than half full with 20,011 the attendance given. The stadium has hosted three matches. France’s opening game against South Korea was a sellout.

* * *

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #12 (June 17, 2019), page 7.

Australia beats Brazil 3-2 with aid from an own goal

MONTPELLIER, France (AP) — An own goal gave Australia a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Brazil in the second round of group play at the Women’s World Cup, even after Marta added a record 16th career tournament goal.

Marta, who sat out Brazil’s opening game with a left thigh injury, became the first player to score in five different World Cups when she converted a penalty kick in the 27th minute of the match. Cristiane scored a header to put the Brazilians up 2-0, but Caitlin Foord scored before the break to pull Australia within one.

Chloe Logarzo’s shot from distance in the 58th minute tied it, then Australia went ahead on the own goal, an error by Monica that snapped the stalemate in the 66th minute. Sam Kerr appeared to be offside but the goal was awarded after video review, and the Brazilians fumed.

Australia, just the second team to win a World Cup match after going down two goals, needed a good game after dropping its opener 1-2 to Italy. Brazil won its tournament opener against Jamaica 3-0 on a hat trick by Cristiane.

It was the first loss in the group stage for the Brazilians since 1995, snapping a 16-match unbeaten streak.

Brazil’s Formiga, the oldest player in the tournament at 41, collected her second yellow card during the match. She will have to sit out the final group match against Italy.

American Abby Wambach and Germany’s Birgit Prinz rank behind Marta on the World Cup goals list with 14 each.

* * *

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #12 (June 17, 2019), page 7.

Thailand goalkeeper thanks Carli Lloyd for reaching out

By Anne M. Peterson

The Associated Press

PARIS — The goalkeeper who allowed 13 goals when the United States routed Thailand at the Women’s World Cup has thanked Carli Lloyd for offering words of encouragement following the humiliating defeat.

Lloyd sought out Sukanya Chor Charoenying immediately following the record-breaking U.S. national team’s victory. Sukanya wasn’t even expected to start in the opener but got the nod over Waraporn Boonsing.

"Thanks so much, Lloyd. Your words that you told me make me strong," Sukanya posted in appreciation to Lloyd on Twitter, adding emojis including Thailand’s flag, a heart, and an American flag. "Keep going for this tournament and so on. Firstly, I felt disappointment in worst situation but this is the biggest experience in my life."

The United States was criticized after the opener for running up the score and celebrating after all 13 goals. Players defended the score, pointing to the importance of goal differential in the group stage and the excitement of scoring on the sport’s biggest stage.

Lloyd said she felt empathy for the Thai team and wanted to comfort the goalkeeper, but that she wasn’t sure if Sukanya understood what she said. Lloyd said she told her to keep her chin up.

"Obviously I’m a player and this team is full of players who want to battle it out, who want to go full throttle, but we are human, and there is a human element to it. And you’ve got to feel for a goalkeeper letting in 13 goals," Lloyd said. "If you don’t, I don’t think you have much of a heart."

The lopsided score in Reims set a World Cup record for both goals and margin of victory. Alex Morgan tied a tournament record with five goals.

But the 5’5" Sukanya also made a good number of saves, too.

Lloyd passed on more encouragement to her on Twitter. "All you can do is give it your best each and every day. Keep fighting and never give up!! Still 2 more games to play," she wrote.

Lloyd, who came into the game late, was among the players who scored.

The U.S. defeated Chile, 3-0, on June 16.

* * *

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #12 (June 17, 2019), page 7.

Joint Korean bid stays in 2023 Women’s World Cup host race

ZURICH (AP) — The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) says a potential joint bid from North and South Korea remains in the race for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

All nine soccer federations which showed interest met the deadline to register. FIFA says they include South Korea "expressing interest in a joint bid" with neighboring North Korea. FIFA originally approached South Korea with the idea.

The nine, including recent men’s World Cup hosts Brazil and South Africa, must submit formal bid plans by October 4. The other contenders are Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Colombia, Japan, and New Zealand.

FIFA’s bidding process includes "a concrete commitment to sustainability and human rights."

The 37-member FIFA Council will pick the winner next March.

To learn more, visit <www.fifa.com/womensworldcup>.

* * *

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #12 (June 17, 2019), page 8.

U.S. rout of Thailand highlights inequity in World Cup field

By Anne M. Peterson

The Associated Press

PARIS — The U.S. national team’s 13-0 rout of Thailand did more than expose vast differences between two teams, it highlighted the overall inequality in the Women’s World Cup field.

Players for the defending champion U.S. team enjoy things like nutritionists and massage therapists, access to top-level training facilities, and play an array of exhibition games against world-class competition. Thailand struggles for the basics, even a large enough player pool to draw on for talent. They play a limited number of friendlies against quality opponents and players need jobs outside of soccer to make ends meet.

"There are some teams here that, since the last World Cup, have only played a handful of games, or only the qualifiers," U.S. star Megan Rapinoe said. "It’s embarrassing for the federations and for FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) as well."

So while well-supported teams like the U.S., France, and England can legitimately say they’re contending for a title, others without those nations’ resources make do with moral victories.

Before the opening game with the U.S., Thailand coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian suggested the team’s real victory at the World Cup could be overall improvement in the women’s program back home because of the attention.

"We are here among the 24 teams in the tournament, this is our success. And to play one of the best teams in the world, like the U.S., this is also our success," Srathongvian said.

A wealthy benefactor, Nualphan Lamsam, serves as general manager of the Thai team and helps players by giving them jobs at her insurance company.

In much the same way, World Cup newcomer Jamaica has depended on the support of Bob Marley’s daughter, Cedella Marley, who has helped fund and promote the team through her late father’s foundation.

The Reggae Girlz were defunded by the Jamaican federation after they failed to qualify for the 2007 World Cup and 2008 Olympics. Marley made it her personal cause to revive the team in 2014.

"This is not just about the World Cup, and I want to make sure people understand that. This is bigger than the World Cup," Jamaica coach Hue Menzies said. "We want to sustain our program. That’s something we’ve talked about with our federation and our sponsors. This is a project that we took up to change the mindset about females playing football."

The disparity between teams made Argentina’s scoreless draw with Japan in their group-stage opener all the more encouraging. It resulted in the team’s first-ever World Cup point.

But it was bigger than that for a team that fights for attention and resources in a soccer-crazed country: Two years ago the players went on strike because stipends went unpaid.

"We have started getting support now from the Argentinean football federation for the team. It’s true that results help a lot, and this will definitely help and reinforce all the work," coach Carlos Borrello said. "It will help us to continue on the great path. We have to also strengthen the grassroots of our game."

FIFA, soccer’s governing body, has been criticized for neglecting the women’s game, and some member federations have not used FIFA funds for their women’s programs, preferring instead to funnel money to developing young male players.

FIFA has begun to address the issue with its Global Women’s Football Strategy, which seeks to double participation in the sport. One goal is to put more women in positions of power both within FIFA and it member federations. It also requires federations to create plans to develop the women’s game.

But the strategy doesn’t require countries to use a dedicated percentage of their FIFA funding on women.

Chile, which like Jamaica is also making its first World Cup appearance, essentially fell out of the world rankings altogether in 2016 because the team didn’t play any meaningful games. After a 0-2 loss to Sweden in its World Cup opener, Chile lost to the U.S. in Paris, 0-3.

The Americans had come off the record-breaking victory over Thailand. Critics jumped on the U.S. for running up the score and celebrating late goals when the game had already been decided. It was the most goals ever scored in a World Cup, as well as the biggest margin of victory. Alex Morgan’s five goals tied a tournament record.

For the United States, the World Cup comes at a time that the team has its own, albeit completely different, battle back home.

The players filed a lawsuit earlier this year that alleges discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation. They are seeking pay equitable with that of the men’s national team. The case is in the early stages in the court system, and the players say they have put it out of their minds for now.

The fight in France is on the field.

"For right now this is our focus, this is our sole focus," Morgan said. "This team is united in a way I have never seen before."

* * *

Women’s World Cup - France 2019

Group play:

June 7

Group A: France 4, Korea Republic 0

June 8

Group B: Germany 1, China PR 0

Group B: Spain 3, South Africa 1

Group A: Norway 3, Nigeria 0

June 9

Group C: Australia 1, Italy 2

Group C: Brazil 3, Jamaica 0

Group D: England 2, Scotland 1

June 10

Group D: Argentina 0, Japan 0

Group E: Canada 1, Cameroon 0

June 11

Group E: New Zealand 0, Netherlands 1

Group F: Chile 0, Sweden 2

Group F: USA 13, Thailand 0

June 12

Group A: Nigeria 2, Korea Republic 0

Group B: Germany 1, Spain 0

Group A: France 2, Norway 1

June 13

Group C: Australia 3, Brazil 2

Group B: South Africa 0, China PR 1

June 14

Group D: Japan 2, Scotland 1

Group C: Jamaica 0, Italy 5

Group D: England 1, Argentina 0

June 15

Group E: Netherlands 3, Cameroon 1

Group E: Canada 2, New Zealand 0

June 16

Group F: Sweden 5, Thailand 1

Group F: USA 3, Chile 0

June 17

Group B: China PR vs. Spain

Group B: South Africa vs. Germany

Group A: Nigeria vs. France

Group A: Korea Republic vs. Norway

June 18

Group C: Jamaica vs. Australia

Group C: Italy vs. Brazil

June 19

Group D: Japan vs. England

Group D: Scotland vs. Argentina

June 20

Group E: Cameroon vs. New Zealand

Group E: Netherlands vs. Canada

Group F: Sweden vs. USA

Group F: Thailand vs. Chile

* * *

Knockout round:

Round of 16

June 22 to 25

Quarterfinals

June 27 to 29

Semifinals

July 2 & 3

Third place

July 6

Championship

July 7

* * *

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