[ALGARVE CUP] Substitute Megumi Takase scored on a thunderous header off Aya Miyama's corner kick in the 84th minute to give Japan a 1-0 win over the USA in a rematch of the 2011 Women's World Cup final Japan won on penalty kicks and deprive the Americans of a 10th consecutive berth in the Algarve Cup final. The shutout marked the first time in 58 games the USA had failed to score at least one goal.
The Americans entered the match needing a win or a tie to advance to the final and a shot at their third consecutive and ninth overall title in this tournament.
But Japan won on a goal off its only corner kick of the game and only shot of the second half.
"I think in the first half, we looked very nervous and the decision-making was off," said U.S. coachPia Sundhage. "Too many times we gave away the ball in situations when we were not even under pressure or in tight spaces. We couldn't keep the ball enough to be dangerous. When you give away the ball against Japan, they keep it. It's so much defending. Mentally and physically, that's tough, but I am happy with the changes we made at halftime and even parts of the first half where we tried to play more direct. I think we looked more dangerous and came up with a couple of chances, but overall you could tell there is a lot of things to work on and especially looking at Japan, their technique and how they keep the ball. They should be role models for the world, the way they play."
The USA will play for third place against Sweden, a 4-0 loser to Germany Wednesday in Parchal.
March 5 in Faro
USA 0 Japan 1.Goal: Takase 84.
USA --Solo, LePeilbet (Heath, 87), Rampone, Buehler, O'Hara (Cox, 46), Cheney (O'Reilly, 46), Boxx, Lloyd (Lindsey, 31), Rodriguez (Rapinoe, 46), Morgan, Wambach (Leroux, 72).
Japan --Fukumoto, Kinga, Iwashimizu (Utsugi, 65), Kumagai, Sameshima, Tanaka (Ito, 90+3), Sakaguchi (Sugasawa, 79), Miyama, Nagasato, Ando (Takase, 65), Ohno (Kawasumi, 65).