Football: Unpolished Nadeshiko Japan pick up steam toward Paris

Sports

Paris Olympic qualification may have looked like a given for Nadeshiko Japan after their dynamic performances at last year’s World Cup, but the task was far from easy.

Having dealt with tactical changes and unprecedented logistical issues, Futoshi Ikeda’s team can feel relief at sealing a berth at the Summer Games when the alternative could have spelled disaster for the women’s game at home.

Japan’s crisp football at the World Cup in New Zealand was good enough to stun eventual champions Spain 4-0 in the group stage, but Ikeda had moved away from their familiar three-at-the-back formation sinc...

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