Japan Data

Nadeshiko Japan Dreams of Matching 2011 Glory in FIFA Women’s World Cup

Sports World

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will kick off on July 20. Japan, the 2011 champion, is now ranked eleventh in the world.

This year, 32 teams will participate in the ninth FIFA Women’s World Cup, hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Japan, ranked eleventh in the world, will face Spain (6), Costa Rica (36), and Zambia (77) in Group C, and hope to progress to the knockout tournament. Its first match will be against Zambia at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, New Zealand, on July 22.

At the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Japan went up against two powerful former champions—Germany in the quarterfinals and Sweden in the semifinals - and defeated both. In the final against the United States, with just minutes left in the second half of extra time, Japan’s captain Sawa Homare scored an equalizer to bring the result to 2-2. This led to a penalty shootout, which Japan won 3-1, securing a dramatic first World Cup title. Sawa was recognized as the tournament’s best player and top scorer.

Previous FIFA Women’s World Cup Tournaments

Host Champion
1991 China United States
1995 Sweden Norway
1999 United States United States
2003 United States Germany
2007 China Germany
2011 Germany Japan
2015 Canada United States
2019 France United States

On June 9, FIFA announced the following rankings for women’s national teams. Japan placed eleventh, making it the second highest ranking team in the Asian Football Confederation, after Australia in tenth.

Top FIFA Ranking Women’s National Teams

Best World Cup Performance
1 United States Champion (four times: 1991, 1999, 2015, 2019)
2 Germany Champion (twice: 2003, 2007)
3 Sweden Runner-up (2003)
4 England Third (2015)
5 France Fourth (2011)
6 Spain Round of 16 (2019)
7 Canada Fourth (2003)
8 Brazil Runner-up (2007)
9 Netherlands Runner-up (2019)
10 Australia Quarterfinals (three times: 2007, 2011, 2015)
11 Japan Champion (2011)

Created by Nippon.com based on FIFA rankings announced on June 9 2023.

Along with Japan and Australia, other members from the Asian Football Confederation competing are China (14), South Korea (17), Vietnam (32), and the Philippines (46), with the latter two teams making their World Cup debuts.

Japan World Ranking

After winning the 2011 World Cup in Germany, Japan continued to rank third for around three years, but has slid to around tenth in recent years. At the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, it lost 3-1 to Sweden in the quarterfinals, while at the 2022 AFC Women’s Asia Cup held in India, it reached the semifinals before losing to China on penalties after a 2-2 tie.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: Japan’s starting lineup at a friendly match against Nigeria, held at Noevir Stadium Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture, on October 6, 2022. © Jiji.)

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