Japan's women's soccer team, Nadeshiko Japan, will play against North Korea on the night of the 28th in the second match of the Asian final qualifying round for the Paris Olympics at the National Stadium.

The first leg of the home-and-away match was a draw, with a win required for a ticket to Paris.

The women's Paris Olympics Asian final qualifying round will be contested on a home-and-away basis, and the first match on the 24th of this month was originally scheduled to be held in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

However, the Asian Football Confederation proposed holding the match at a neutral site due to the lack of regular flights between North Korea and other countries, and it was decided three days before the match that the match would be held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, resulting in a 0-0 match. The game was tied at 0.

[Round 1 Details] Nadeshiko Japan Paris Olympics Final Qualifying Round 1 Draw with North Korea

The second match will be held at the National Stadium from 6:30 pm on the 28th, and if Japan wins, they will qualify for the Paris Olympics.

In the unprecedented situation in the final qualifying round, the players were placed in a difficult environment, having to travel long distances and deal with temperature changes in a short period of time, and Japan lacked their original movement in the first round. I did.

In preparation for the second match, which will be held in three days, one of the key points will be the players' recovery in condition, and the key will be whether they can revive their original speedy attacks with the help of the home support. .

The first game will be a tough battle

Japan and North Korea are close in the world rankings.

North Korea ranks 9th while Japan ranks 8th.

As the numbers show, the first game on the 24th of this month ended in a 0-0 draw.

However, Japan was forced into a tough battle.

The Asian Football Confederation was initially reluctant to hold the tournament in North Korea, and it was only decided three days before the match that it would be held in Saudi Arabia, an unusual situation. There was no.

According to team officials, Japan had only three shots in the first game.

The match may have had to be fought in a harsh environment with daytime temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, but the main reason for the struggle was the inability to adapt to changes in the opponent's fighting style. That's what happened.

Up until then, North Korea had often attacked aggressively from the front on the international stage, but they chose a defense-oriented fighting style that increased the number of defenders to five, and Japan was perplexed by this unexpected turn of events. .

While the players on the front line are being pulled out by opponents who are pulling back and defending, there are also many cases where the distance between players increases and players become isolated because they are too wary of a counter-attack with a long pass after losing the ball. Ta.

In fact, there were many situations where we were at a numerical disadvantage, and when we were about to start, we were robbed of the ball and lost our rhythm.

In preparation for the decisive second match, it will be important for us to take advantage of these points and regain the synergy we showed against the European powerhouses at last year's World Cup.

After the official practice, Risa Shimizu, an unwavering right back, singled out forward Minami Tanaka as a key player in the attack, and said that she would like to fight without being isolated by making moves that bring fellow forwards closer together. .

Additionally, captain Saki Kumagai, who plays in a defensive midfield position, said that drawing out both sides of the opponent will be important in breaking down the defense.

“Responsiveness” is the key to success

The key to the second match will be the ability to respond flexibly even when unexpected developments occur.

The game is held over three days in middle school, and players are required to adapt to changes in the environment, such as traveling long distances and adapting to differences in temperature.

However, the ability to respond in a short period of time is one thing Japan has honed after last year's World Cup.

During our tour to Brazil last November, we played a match against the same opponent on the second day of junior high school, with an eye on the final Asian qualifying match.

At that time, they lost to Brazil in the first game by conceding four goals, but in the second game, they used thorough defense with their numbers and used their positioning to avoid pressure from the opponent, and won a complete victory 2-0.

The second match will be decided in overtime and penalty kicks if the winner is not decided after 90 minutes.

The National Stadium, the venue for the decisive battle, is also the auspicious venue where Japan's women's national team defeated North Korea in 2004 to qualify for the Olympics.

The players expressed their determination, saying, ``Whether we win or lose will determine the future of women's soccer in Japan.''

By expressing that determination on the pitch and regaining Nadeshiko's original form, she will be able to see the path to victory.

《NHK broadcast schedule》

Match start date February 28th (Wednesday) 18:34

Tokyo National Stadium

[Broadcast schedule]

NHK General 18:25 ~

Simultaneous and missed broadcasts available on NHK Plus