Nagasato, Ando, Iwabuchi named to Nadeshiko Japan World Cup squad

Potsdam forward Yuki Nagasato, Duisburg striker Kozue Ando and rising star Mana Iwabuchi on Wednesday were named in Japan’s squad to play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, which starts on June 26.

The 21-member squad also features Homare Sawa of INAC Kobe Leonessa and Aya Miyama of Okayama Yunogo Belle – who both previously played in the WPS – as well as Rumi Utsugi of Montpellier.
“I’m delighted to be in the World Cup squad,” said Sawa, who was formerly with NTV Beleza, Atlanta Beat and Washington Freedom. Sawa will be making her fifth straight appearance in the World Cup.
“This is my fifth one and I would like to win a medal, and I believe we have the players who are capable of doing that,” she stated.
Nadeshiko Japan coach Norio Sasaki commented: “I have formed this squad with the intention of finishing among the top three in the World Cup.”
The Japanese women finished fourth in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and are eager to do even better in Germany.
“It’s a mixture of experienced players and younger ones, and all of them are needed to achieve our objective,” Sasaki said. “It’s time for us to show the things we have worked on over the last three years. I look forward to seeing how much we can show in the World Cup this time.”
Nagasato commented: “We are aiming to win the tournament and I want us to show our strong points in the games.”
The Japanese women will get together on Tuesday to start their final preparations in Ehime Prefecture. They will play against Korea Republic in a warm-up friendly on June 18 in Matsuyama before heading to Germany on June 22.
The squad will be supported by two additional players – Saori Ariyoshi of NTV Beleza and Mami Yamaguchi of Hammersby – during the Ehime camp.
In the group stage at the World Cup, Japan will play New Zealand on June 27 in Bochum, Mexico on July 1 in Leverkusen and England on July 5 in Augsburg.
The quarterfinals will take place on July 9, the semifinals on July 13 and the third place playoff on July 16. The final will be held on July 17.

Goalkeepers—Nozomi Yamago (Urawa Reds Ladies), Miho Fukumoto (Okayama Yunogo Belle), Ayumi Kaihori (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
Defenders—Yukari Kinga (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Kyoko Yano (Urawa Reds Ladies), Megumi Kamionobe (Albirex Niigata Ladies), Azusa Iwashimizu (NTV Beleza), Aya Sameshima (TBA*), Asuna Tanaka (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Saki Kumagai (Urawa Reds Ladies)
Midfielders—Homare Sawa (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Aya Miyama (Okayama Yunogo Belle), Nahomi Kawasumi (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Mizuho Sakaguchi (Albirex Niigata Ladies), Rumi Utsugi (Montpellier)
Forwards—Kozue Ando (Duisburg), Karina Maruyama (JEF United Ichihara-Chiba), Shinobu Ohno (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Yuki Nagasato (Potsdam), Megumi Takase (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Mana Iwabuchi (NTV Beleza)
Coach—Norio Sasaki (Japan)

Note: *Team is to be announced later.