I put pressure on myself, says goal hero Kawasumi

Nadeshiko Japan attacker Nahomi Kawasumi, who scored twice in Japan’s 3-1 victory over Sweden in the FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinals on Wednesday night, said she was waiting for the opportunity to play in the quadrennial tournament.

Kawasumi started a game for the first time in the semifinal after being used as a substitute earlier in the tournament. Her hard-working performance and tireless movement proved valuable both in offense and defense.
She equalized in the 18th minute from close range and, with her side leading 2-1 in the 64th minute, the INAC Kobe player added another with a superb lob from long range.
“I was always thinking about what I can do if I get the chance to play,” said Kawasumi after earning her 17th cap since her Japan debut in 2008. “I am happy with my two goals.”
“My condition was pretty good as I had only played a few minutes earlier in the tournament, so I put pressure on myself to do something,” said the 25-year-old attacker.
Kawasumi said she got a good ball from Aya Miyama so that she “only needed to connect” for her first goal and that the second one came as she noticed the goalkeeper was out of position.
“I just went for it,” she recalled. It was her third and fourth goals for Japan and first since the Nadeshiko’s 2-1 win over Sweden in the Algarve Cup in Portugal on March 9.
Kawasumi said that she had a feeling that her side’s passing game would work against Sweden.
“I thought it wouldn’t be impossible to beat them as they looked uncomfortable with our passing game and small steps,” she said.
Japan will play the United States in Sunday’s final at the same venue in Frankfurt, the home of Eintracht Frankfurt.
Asked if there was some concern that she and her teammates might be complacent after reaching the final, Kawasumi commented: “That is something that concerned us after our [quarterfinal] win over Germany.”
“The players held a meeting before going into today’s game and confirmed our objective in the tournament, which is not just to beat Germany or reach the semifinals. So, I think we should be alright for the final. The United States are the No. 1 team in the world, so we have to challenge them.”