Japan Data

Nadeshiko Japan Announces Roster for France World Cup

Sports

The Japan Football Association has announced the squad for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that will kick off in France on June 7.

On May 10, the Japan Football Association announced the 23 members of the Japanese women’s national team for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Soccer’s premier event will get underway in France on June 7, bringing together 24 teams to decide the world number one.

The Nadeshiko Japan side is stacked with young talent and features 17 players who are making their World Cup debuts. They include defenders Minami Moeka and Miyagawa Asato and forwards Endō Jun and Ueki Riko who helped Japan claim victory at last year’s U-20 final in France. World Cup veterans Iwabuchi Mana, captain Kumagai Saki, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Sameshima Aya, and Utsugi Rumi of the 2011 championship team and Sugasawa Yuika of the 2015 runner-up squad round out the roster.

Coach Takakura Asako is hoping the mixture of young and seasoned players will return Japan to its winning ways on the world stage. Former manager Sasaki Norio piloted Japan to its lone World Cup title, but the squad finished runners-up at the following tournament after a 5–2 drubbing at the hands of the United States. Japan failed to even qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Takakura, the team’s first female skipper, has steered Nadeshiko Japan to a respectable record in her three years at the helm, racking up 22 wins, 14 losses, and 7 draws. She is hoping to ride the momentum of the team’s 2018 Asian Cup title into France. However, fans fear that without playmakers of the caliber of 2011 FIFA player of the year Sawa Homare and former captain Miyama Aya, Nadeshiko Japan will be hard-pressed to win against top European sides and rival the United States.

On March 29, FIFA announced the latest world ranking ahead of the tournament. Japan climbed one spot to seventh, capping a four-spot move up the charts over the last 12 months. The United States remained in first, followed by Germany, England, France, Canada, and Australia.

Japan has qualified for all eight World Cups since the event debuted in 1991, earning an overall record of 13 wins, 13 losses, and 3 draws. The team in its first five outings at the tournament only managed to get past the qualifying stage in 1995, where it bowed out in the quarterfinals in a 4–0 loss to the United States. Nadeshiko Japan was the surprise champions at the 2011 tournament in Germany, playing a strong US side to a 2–2 draw in the final before winning 3–1 on penalties.

Japanese Women’s National Team World Cup Schedule

(Dates and times in Japan)

Group Stage Matches (Group D) Opponent
June 10 (Mon) 6 pm Argentina
June 14 (Fri) 3 pm Scotland
June 19 (Wed) 9 pm England
The two top teams in each group and four best third-ranked teams qualify for the round of 16.
Round of 16 June 22, 23, and 25
Quarterfinals June 27, 28, and 29
Semifinals July 2 and 3 (9 pm kickoff)
Playoff for third place July 6 (5 pm kickoff)
Final July 7 (5 pm kickoff)

Nadeshiko Japan’s 2019 World Cup Team

(Data current as of May 10, 2019)

Coach

Takakura Asako

Date of birth: April 19, 1968
Age: 51

Managing history
2013–2014 Japan’s U-16/U-17 women’s national team
2014–2015 Japan’s U-18/U-19 women’s national team
2016–present Japan’s U-20 women’s national team

Goalkeepers

Ikeda Sakiko

Date of birth: September 8, 1992
Age: 26
Height: 168 cm
14 caps / 18 goals allowed
Club: Urawa Reds Ladies

Yamashita Ayaka

Date of birth: September 29, 1995
Age: 23
Height: 170 cm
26 caps / 32 goals allowed
Club: Nippon TV Beleza

Hirao Chika

Date of birth: December 31, 1996
Age: 22
Height: 173 cm
2 caps / 4 goals allowed
Club: Albirex Niigata Ladies

Defenders

Sameshima Aya

Date of birth: June 16, 1987
Age: 31
Height: 163 cm
108 caps / 5 goals
Club: INAC Kobe Leonessa

Utsugi Rumi

Date of birth: December 5, 1988
Age: 30
Height: 168 cm
112 caps / 6 goals
Club: Seattle Reign FC (US)

Kumagai Saki

Date of birth: October 17, 1990
Age: 28
Height: 173 cm
103 caps / 0 goals
Club: Olympique Lyonnais (France)

Miyake Shiori

Date of birth: October 13, 1995
Age: 23
Height: 165 cm
17 caps / 0 goals
Club: INAC Kobe Leonessa

Shimizu Risa

Date of birth: June 15, 1996
Age: 22
Height: 160 cm
23 caps / 0 goals
Club: Nippon TV Beleza

Ichise Nana

Date of birth: August 4, 1997
Age: 21
Height: 160 cm
15 caps / 0 goals
Club: Mynavi Vegalta Sendai Ladies

Miyagawa Asato

Date of birth: February 24, 1998
Age: 21
Height: 160 cm
4 caps / 0 goals
Club: Nippon TV Beleza

Minami Moeka

Date of birth: December 7, 1998
Age: 20
Height: 171 cm
4 caps / 0 goals
Club: Urawa Reds Ladies

Midfielders

Sakaguchi Mizuho

Date of birth: October 15, 1987
Age: 31
Height: 165 cm
125 caps / 29 goals
Club: Nippon TV Beleza

Nakajima Emi

Date of birth: September 27, 1990
Age: 28
Height: 158 cm
69 caps / 14 goals
Club: INAC Kobe Leonessa

Momiki Yuka

Date of birth: April 9, 1996
Age: 23
Height: 153 cm
24 caps / 8 goals
Club: Nippon TV Beleza

Hasegawa Yui

Date of birth: January 29, 1997
Age: 22
Height: 156 cm
35 caps / 6 goals
Club: Nippon TV Beleza

Sugita Hina

Date of birth: January 31, 1997
Age: 22
Height: 162 cm
6 caps / 0 goals
Club: INAC Kobe Leonessa

Miura Narumi

Date of birth: July 3, 1997
Age: 21
Height: 156 cm
8 caps / 0 goals
Club: Nippon TV Beleza

Forwards

Sugasawa Yuika

Date of birth: October 5, 1990
Age: 28
Height: 168 cm
62 caps / 17 goals
Club: Urawa Reds Ladies

Iwabuchi Mana

Date of birth: March 18, 1993
Age: 26
Height: 155 cm
61 caps / 20 goals
Club: INAC Kobe Leonessa 

Yokoyama Kumi

Date of birth: August 13, 1993
Age: 25
Height: 155 cm
40 caps / 17 goals
Club: AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies

Kobayashi Rikako

Date of birth: July 21, 1997
Age: 21
Height: 160 cm
5 caps / 2 goals
Club: Nippon TV Beleza

Ueki Riko

Date of birth: July 30, 1999
Age: 19
Height: 162 cm
2 caps / 0 goals
Club: Nippon TV Beleza

Endō Jun

Date of birth: May 24, 2000
Age: 18
Height: 167 cm
4 caps / 0 goals
Club: Nippon TV Beleza

(Originally published in Japanese. Photographs courtesy the Japan Football Association.)

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