Japan cruises into championship game

[UNDER-17 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP] Japan cruised into Friday's final at the Under-17 Women's World Cup with a 4-1 win over surprise semifinalist Venezuela. The victory brought the Japanese tally to five games, five wins and a goal margin of 21-1.

Japan led 2-0 at the half on goals by Fuka Nagano and Nana Ichese before pulling away on goals by Rikako Kobayashi and Hina Sugita early in the second half.

It wasn't until stoppage time that La Vinotinto got on the board on 14-year-old Deyna Castellanos' sixth goal of the tournament. She leads Sugita and Spain's Nahikari Garcia by one goal on the scoring charts.

Japan will meet Spain, a 2-0 winner over Italy, in the final. Sandra Hernandez and Garcia scored second-half penalties for Spain in the second semifinal Monday night in Liberia. Japan won its first meeting with Spain, 2-0, in group play.
2 comments about "Japan cruises into championship game".
  1. David Crowther, April 1, 2014 at 1:47 p.m.

    I could see this coming. Japan are far superior to everyone else in this cup and Spain looked like a much more complete team than Italy, which got this far mostly because of a great defense. Though its a pity that both Japan and Spain benefited from bad penalty calls yesterday, they were the better teams. For the final, I really don't see how Spain is going to beat Japan. It's also pretty much a foregone conclusion that Hina Sugita is going to win the golden ball. She's a future star in the making. I do hope Castellanos holds on for the golden boot as she deserves it.

  2. David Crowther, April 1, 2014 at 1:56 p.m.

    The other big story coming out of this cup is the excellent attendances. Liberia has sold out every game, including yesterday's semifinals, while attendances at the central valley stadiums have been more than respectable, even after the local team was eliminated. Though Ticos love soccer, the woman's game has never gotten much attention here. But I think most fans have been very impressed with both the skill and intensity with which these U17 girls have played. Too bad the final was programmed so early on a workday, as that might hurt.

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