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05/03/2012

Miyama proud of Nadeshiko’s team effort in win over United States

Nadeshiko Japan captain Aya Miyama was proud of her side’s team effort after they beat the United States 1-0 in their third and final group match of the Algarve Cup in Faro, Portugal, on Wednesday.

Japan substitute Megumi Takase headed home a fine corner from Miyama in the 84th minute to reach the final of the annual invitational competition.
“I am happy with our win,” said Miyama. “We had a few substitutions but were still able to play united as a team and compete with the United States. That makes me proud.”
Japan played without FIFA Player of the Year Homare Sawa, who was ill, but they showed their own brand of football from the start before facing a fight-back from the United States in the second half. Japan made a total of five substitutions in the second half.
Regarding the winner, Miyama said, “We won that corner in a good way, and Takase was working hard defensively and offensively. The goal came as a result of her efforts.”
“It was good, because we produced the right result, but we could have done more – in defense in particular – to make our game a lot better. We’d like to keep working together,” said the Okayama Yunogo Belle and former WPS player.
“I’m glad I was able to get a goal,” Takase said. “Everyone was fighting hard physically from the first half and that led us to find the target on a set play in the end.”
The INAC Kobe forward added, “I will work hard to score again in the final. We want to win the tournament.”
Forward Shinobu Ohno marked her 100th appearance for Japan in the game. Ohno made her Japan debut in January 2003 against the United States.
“The game turned out to be one to remember,” said the INAC Kobe player. “But I am not fully happy with the way we played as our opponents had more chances. It showed we have more to work on. However, we beat them in 90 minutes, which is a positive thing for us.”
Kozue Ando, who started after being sidelined in the first two matches with a knee injury, commented: “I am glad we beat the United States in 90 minutes.”
The win on Monday improved Japan’s record against the U.S. to 1-4-21 (win-draw-loss). The Nadeshiko edged the United States on penalties in the World Cup final last summer.
Ando added: “We beat the United States in the World Cup but we were under pressure in the first half. So, we reviewed that game and discussed what to fix.”
Japan will play Germany in Wednesday’s final after the Germans beat Sweden 4-0 in their final group match on Monday.
Japan played Germany in last year’s World Cup quarterfinals and beat them 1-0 after extra time.