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03/08/2012

Nadeshiko beat Brazil to reach Olympic semifinals

The Japan women’s team reached the semifinals of the 2012 London Olympics after beating Brazil 2-0 in the quarterfinals on Friday at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
    The Nadeshiko went ahead in the 27th minute through Ohgimi Yuki. Ohno Shinobu made it 2-0 for Sasaki Norio’s side with her strike in the 73rd minute.
    Japan will play France in the semifinals on August 6 at Wembley Stadium in London. France advanced with a 2-1 win over Sweden.

    The Nadeshiko had an early attempt at goal with Ohno Shinobu’s blast from the left a few seconds into the game, but soon after that, they were put under pressure by the Brazilians, who formed their offense around five-time world Player of the Year Marta.
    Brazil, who won the silver in the previous two Olympics, had a series of corners, taken by Marta, early in the game and Japan goalkeeper Fukumoto Miho had to be alert to protect her goal.

    In the 17th minute, midfielder Renata Costa had a good volley, while Formiga fired in a shot from the right flank soon after, but Fukumoto did well to deal with the shots.
    The Japanese players, who finished fourth in the 2008 Olympics, stayed calm and defended well against the lively Brazilian offense. After the 20-minute mark, the world champions started winning more of the ball to create a series of chances.

    In the 23rd minute, Kawasumi Nahomi moved a Sawa Homare pass on to Ohgimi in the area, but her close-range shot was blocked. Ohno had a shot from the rebound but fired over the bar.
    Miyama then received the ball on the right side of the box, cut inside and, after losing her balance on the slippery pitch, managed to get off a shot that went wide.
    Three minutes later, Ohgimi got in a header from a Miyama free-kick but couldn’t keep the ball down.

    Japan’s efforts paid off in the 27th minute after a free-kick awarded when Kawasumi was brought down by Cristiane. Sawa took the kick and delivered a fine through ball to Ohgimi on the left flank. The Potsdam forward cut into the box and calmly slotted a shot into the right corner of the goal.
    Brazil, seeking their first-ever Olympic gold medal, rallied hard and had efforts from Cristiane and Renata Costa, but Fukumoto continued to be solid in goal.

    After the break, Brazil came back into the game and put Japan under pressure through efforts by Marta and Cristiane.
    The Nadeshiko came close in the 64th minute after Kawasumi dribbled up the middle of the field and fed Ohgimi, who made an attempt from a tight angle, but the Brazilians were able to clear the danger.
    Japan’s second goal came on a similar break. Ohgimi moved upfield on a counterattack and crossed the ball to Ohno. The INAC Kobe player controlled the ball just inside the box, beat her marker and hit a shot off the crossbar to make the score 2-0.

    Brazil came close to pulling a goal back in the 75th minute when Cristiane hit from just outside the box, while Marta also hit from mid-range in the 78th minute, but Japan held firm to seal their place in the semifinals.