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This blog reflects on soccer qua football all over the world. The blog has a specific investment in attractive, attacking football and, as such, focuses on Brazil, the most emphatic historical exponent of the beautiful game.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Women's World Cup: Japan Beats Germany 1-0 in Quarterfinals

Japan beat defending champions Germany in a thrilling World Cup quarterfinal marked by a clinical finish from substitute striker Karina Maruyama off an Homare Sawa assist. Germany threatened Japan’s goal on multiple occasions during the first twenty minutes, even though they suffered the unexpected loss of midfielder Kim Kulig in the 8th minute due to injury. But after Japan weathered the initial period of German dominance, the Nadeshiko began to play their trademark passing game. Japan played deeper than Germany for much of the match and opted for a well organized 4-4-2 formation that attacked down the center. Strong Japanese defending in combination with accurate passing stifled Germany’s midfield and allowed the defending champions few chances to create high percentage shots on goal. The injury time goal in the 108th minute arose from a visionary pass from Homare Sawa in an attacking midfield position. Sawa saw an opening on the far right flank and lofted the ball past the German defense in tandem with a well timed run by Maruyama. The sprinting Maruyama beat German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer at the far post with a first touch strike on the ball that gave Japan the first goal of the match with twelve minutes remaining. Germany piled on the pressure in the remaining minutes with Melanie Behringer, in particular, initiating attacks from the left flank and set pieces. But Japan defended admirably by sending the ball into the stands and piling players in front of the box when necessary. Japan’s victory ended a 15 game unbeaten World Cup winning streak for Germany, which was gunning for its third consecutive World Cup title.

Line-Ups:

Japan

Ayumi Kaihori (GK), Aya Sameshima, Saki Kumagai, Azusa Iwashimizu, Yukari Kinga, Aya Miyama, Homare Sawa, Mizuho Sakaguchi, Shinobu Ohno (Mana Iwabuchi, 66, Rumi Utsugi, 116), Yuki Nagasato (Karina Maruyama, 46), Kozue Ando.

Germany

Nadine Angerer (GK), Babett Peter, Saskia Bartusiak, Linda Bresonik (Lena Goessling, 64), Annike Krahn, Melanie Behringer, Kim Kulig (Bianca Schmnidt, 8), Celia Okoyino da Mbabi, Simone Laudehr, Kerstin Garefrekes, Inka Grings (Alexandra Popp, 102).

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