2016 U-20 Women's World Cup Preview: Japan vs Brazil

2016 U-20 Women's World Cup Preview: Japan vs Brazil

Two heavyweights in the women's game come face to face. Brazil look to restore some pride while Japan look to improve their finishing position.

Katie Mishner

Throughout the age groups both Japan and Brazil are big names in women's football, having said that, neither side have had as easy a route into the quarter finals. Japan most shockingly defeated narrowly by U-20 newcomers Spain

The mistakes made from both teams are to be forgotten as the tournament progresses into the next stage and the slate has been wiped clean. It will certainly be interesting to watch how this knockout game unfolds.

PNG performances

Both teams given their status in the international playing field were expected to make it to this point. Brazil made their mark on the tournament in style after giving PNG their biggest beating, 9-0, however there were some twists to the tale. In their next game they were stunned by a dominant Korea DPR, who condemned them to a 4-2 beating in one of the most spectacular games of the tournament.

They managed to regain some confidence by coming back from 1-0 against Sweden to restore parity and send themselves into this game against Japan o goal difference.

Japan have been more stable, kicking things off by hammering 2014 finalists Nigeria but then found themselves losing out because of a Spanish penalty just another game later. Unlike Brazil, the Little Nadeshiko found form again as in their final game against Canada they comprehensively walked away as victors, topping the group.

In addition to the strength in the points board, Japan are the most dangerous going forward in the whole tournament, having attempted on goal 57 times in just three games. Not only that, but only 18 of those shots have been off-target - Brazil will have to be extremely resilient when it comes to defence in order to keep them out of goal, without compromising themselves going forward.

The history books

Despite their presence throughout the ranks, Brazil have never quite been able to beat, be it at U-17 level or in other major tournaments. However, this is the first time that the two teams will play together at an U-20 level, both likely to be eager to win some pride while in their national colours.

For Japan, they have been here before, they have made the quarter finals at least three times but have been unable to win a trophy at this level. Surprising, considering their supremacy within the U-17 and Senior divisions of the sport. In contrast, Brazil have never failed to qualify for this tournament but in recent years, they have struggled to make it out of their group. Their best finish was back in 2006 when they earned the bronze medal, but since then it has been a downhill struggle. 

Strong squads

Doriva Bueno looks as though she can change that pattern with the incredible forces her squad has when going forward. Players such as Gabi Nunes and Brena are not afraid to take risks in the middle of the pitch, dictating play, creating chances for goal poacher Duda to put away - all while managing to get their names on the scoresheet. 

Defensively, Brazil have the strong Yasmim along the back line. Her presence is frightening for the best of forwards, however she can also cause a problem when it comes to scoring, having already netted twice for her team. Alongside her is pacey youngster, Giovanna who is very capable of running up and down the lines in order to wreak havoc. 

While Bueno's side may have star players, like is usually the case, Japan look very consistent throughout all positions. The way of the Little Nadeshiko is often a team game, gelled by playmakers like Yui Hasegawa and goalscorers such as Yuka Momiki and Mami Ueno. They are a constant threat, but not impossible to silence.

The clash of South American and Asian styles will be interesting. Brazil are very physical, their players will be able to tussle for the ball in dangerous areas. However, the Japanese are quick and employ tiki taka styles to perfection which enables them to dance around their opponents final third.

Ultimately, Japan are the overwhelming favourites going into this game, but as seen in their second group match, they are prone to surprise upsets.