Japan Loses To Netherlands In Women's World Cup

Japan loses to Netherlands in Women's World Cup

In Women's World Cup soccer in France, Japan lost to the Netherlands 2-1 in the first match of the knockout stage, failing to make it to the quarterfinals.

The world's seventh-ranked Japanese squad, nicknamed Nadeshiko, played the eighth-ranked Netherlands in the northwestern French city of Rennes on Tuesday.

Playmaker Yui Hasegawa returned to the starting eleven for the first time since she was injured in the first match of the group stage.

The Dutch were in control in the early stages, attacking from both wings. The team scored the first goal of the match from a corner in the 17th minute.

But Japanese players gradually regained their pace. In the 43rd minute, forward Mana Iwabuchi brilliantly evaded a defender and passed the ball to Hasegawa. Hasegawa then clinically scored a goal to tie the score.

Yuka Momiki came on as a substitute in the second half. She had been sidelined due to injury.

With about 15 minutes left on the clock, Japan began creating scoring opportunities. But shots by Momiki and Iwabuchi were blocked by the Dutch goalie.

With several minutes to go, captain Saki Kumagai was penalized for a handball, allowing the Dutch to score the winning goal from a penalty.