0-1 Mama Ueno, 87'
2016 U-20 Women's World Cup - USA 0-1 Japan: Yong Nadeshiko show hunger for the bronze

2016 U-20 Women's World Cup - USA 0-1 Japan: Yong Nadeshiko show hunger for the bronze

It was an extremely hard fought battle with excellent goalkeeping and plenty of passes but Japan played USA at their own game with a dramatic late winner.

katielmishner
Katie Mishner

In the penultimate game of the U-20 Women's World Cup the now Bronze medalists Japan beat previous champions USA at their own game with an 87th minute winner in the third place showdown.

The game was very much ran by the Yong Nadeshiko, their ability to force their way into USA's final third kept the Americans pinned back, trying to intercept their well timed passes with little avail.

In the first half the Japanese had really settled into the game as they easily passed their way into the box, but getting past shot stopper Casey Murphy was another story as she played her game of the tournament.

Captain Yuka Momiki was instigating the attacks and in the first 20 minutes of play she released a pass that easily avoided defenders that set up Rin Sumida into an idyllic goal scoring position. Only to have the well angled shot put over the bar with an auspicious save. 

Murphy went on to tip two more shots over the bar, the damage was mostly being caused by Momiki and her striking partner Yuo Hasegawa but the athletiscism and positive mindset of the Amerian keeper closed the opening 45 minutes with no goals. Japan had seen plenty of possession and shots which meant that America to conjure a real half time plan to combat the heavy fire.

Ueno seals bronze

After the break Murphy was once again called upon to save two more shots as Japan continued to deliver damaging balls. The shot stopper did so but there was only so long that she could hold out for.

Asako Takakura brought on top scorer Mama Ueno in a bid to capatalise on the momentum and she almost did, striking a shot at the side netting following by Momiki clipping the cross bar.

Even being held under siege by Japan, the Stars and Stripes had come to terms with playing the counter attack game, they thrived more than in their first half showing. Substitute Jessie Scarpa headed the ball just high, giving her team some more confidence.

With just three minutes to go it seemed as though the score would remain goalless, the longer it had went on the more frustrated the Young Nadeshiko had become while their opposition found some comfort.

That was until Ueno's moment of magic that put her as the joint top goal scorer. The shot came from just inside the box at a 45 degree angle. With little pressure on her, the striker took time to calculate the shot and delivered it with the perfect weight, Murphy gave it her all as she leapt to capture the ball but could only watch it fly over her gloves.

Japan now leave PNG with a bronze medal and a golden boot for Mami Ueno with their heads held high.

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