Under-20 Women's World Cup: Statement win for youth powerhouse Japan

Japan made a case for being the top women's program in the world, top to bottom, with a 3-1 win over Spain to capture the Under-20 Women's World Cup title before 5,409 fans at Vannes' Stade de la Rabine in Brittany.

The match was a repeat of their group match Spain won, 1-0. Spain and Japan finished ahead of the USA in Group C.

Japanese-American keeper Hannah Stambaugh made great stops on Spanish star Patri Guijarro, Maite Oroz and Eva Navarro in the first half, but the Young Nadeshiko took control of the game and scored three goals on brilliant finishing by Hinata Miyazawa, Saori Takarada and Fuka Nagano.

"During this tournament, we saw our team improve both as a team and as individuals," said Japan coach Futoshi Ikeda. "And I feel that I was fortunate to coach such wonderful group of players. We tend to use the phrase 'hard work' in defense a lot, but there are many ways to show hard work in offense as well."

In the last eight years, Japan has now won the 2011 Women's World Cup, 2014 Under-17 Women's World Cup and 2018 Under-20 Women's World Cup. No other country has ever won all three championships.

Miyazawa, Takarada and Nagano were all on the Japanese team that finished second at the 2016 U-17 women's tournament in Jordan, where it scored 19 goals in its first five games before losing to North Korea in the final in a shootout.
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