Fancied Japan took on Argentina in a Group D first round encounter of the FIFA Women’s World Cup at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
Argentina have featured in 2 World Cups previously at USA 2003 and China 2007 but could not go beyond the the group stages. Without a domestic league the team has mostly amateur players but still qualified for France 2019 after beating the fourth position winner in a double home away leg play off in November 2018. The Albicelestes are Coached by 63 year old Jose Carlos Borrello. Against the Japanese they adopt the 4-5-1 formation with Sole Jaimes as the lone striker
Former World Champions Japan:
Japan are one the big guns in the tournament especially when they they were World Champions in 2011 where the outclassed United States in the final. They were Runner Up in the last edition in 2015 there by making it to the Finals in the last two editions. The Nadeshiko are also the Asian Games Gold medalists and 2018 AFC Champions. Their coach, Asako Takakura, a former International is known for her attacking style of play and chose the 4-4-2 formation. Yuika Sugasawa and Kumi Yokoyama will have a to scoring responsibilities as strikers.
Japan and Argentina have faced each other twice before the match in Paris where Japan have won both the encounters and scores a whopping 7 goals against the Albicelestes.
Yokoyama has been the work horse of the Japanse attack line, but the combination with Iwabuchi has to give more results
Japan have a firm grip on the match but they are unable to find a way to break down the Argentine defense.
Florencia Bonsegundo is blocking out every wing play option from the Japanese on the right wing.
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The Argentine game plan seems clear for all, sit back and defend they seem to be playing for a draw. And till now it’s working well for the Los Albicelestes.
Risa Shimizu is penalised with a caution in the 38th minute for a late challenge on Argentine Captain Banini
At the end of 45 minutes of regulation time both teams were unable to break the deadlock and proceed to the locker room.
Argentina Coach Carlos Borrello seemed satisfied as the match progressed towards a draw while the Nadeshiko will try their best to find a goal. A draw is certainly against the plan for the 2011 World Champions
50th minute and Kumi Yokoyama drives for goal from distance but Vanina Correa in the Argentine goal is up for the challenge with a meaningful save.
There have been only six stalemate draws in the history of the FIFA Women’s World Cup where both teams were unable to score.
Japan try hard to play high press with left back Aya Sameshima and right back Risa Shimizu making overlaps from either sides.
Yokoyama and Sugasawa are tightly checked by the Argentine defense. Surely the defense duo of Augustina Barroso and Aldana Cometti are frustrating the Japanse.
Emi Nakajima tries to feed the ball to either flanks but the Argentine defense seems impregnable tonight.
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Estefania Banini the Argentine Captain has been brilliant in the Los Albicelestes defense. She is utilizing her experience as she plays in Spain for Levante UD in the Spanish League.
Staphanie Frappart the French Referee signaled full time and At the end of 90 minutes regulation time, the final score Japan 0 – 0 Argentina. The first draw of France 2019.
Argentina have been unable to score a goal in all their World Cup matches
Player of the Match:
28 year old Estefania Banini of Argentina was adjudged as the player of the match.