A draw suited us: Sasaki

Nadeshiko Japan coach Sasaki Norio thanked his players for following his instructions in the 0-0 draw with South Africa in Cardiff on Tuesday.
    The draw meant Japan finished second in Group F in the Olympic tournament and will play their quarterfinal match against Brazil in Cardiff.

    "When I thought about what we would need to keep our fitness to prepare for our next game, I thought it would be good if we could stay in Cardiff and avoid a long and hard trip to Glasgow.
    "I changed around the team largely to give everyone an opportunity to feel the Olympics and also wanted to see how much we could do with the players I played today. But they couldn't do as well as they had in our training sessions."
    Sasaki said that a draw was a good result for his team. If Japan had topped the group, they would have had to travel to Glasgow for their quarterfinal match.
    Sasaki said, "Our players did well in the second half according to my instructions. I think they understood that this would help them prepare well for our next game.
    "It must have been hard for our players. I feel sorry to them. Now it is my turn to make sure we win our quarterfinal and get to the semifinals by any means."
    Nadeshiko captain Miyama Aya said, "It was not easy to secure a quarterfinal place after two matches in the group stage. All of our players were able to get on the pitch by the end of today, which I think is fantastic. I knew it would be difficult to play after the team was changed around drastically. But each one of us tried hard to show the good parts of our game today."
    Forward Maruyama Karina said, "You never know what will happen in the Olympics, and sometimes you need to play like this when you play in a long tournament. I think we the players were all convinced this will help us win gold."
    Defender Yano Kyoko of Urawa Reds Ladies, who played left back, said, "We made sure not to take any risks to avoid giving away a goal. As I hadn't played earlier in the tournament, playing today helped me feel the atmosphere and to adjust to it. That has brought me self-confidence. A long journey doesn't help players so that staying here to prepare for our next game will benefit us."
    Duisburg forward Ando Kozue commented, "The result is good as we can play the opposition that we wanted. I want to review my play and use that to do my job as forward in the next game."
    Defender Iwashimizu Azusa of NTV Beleza said, "Now we are going to face tougher opponents and we should work on details to beat them. It's time to fight."