Japan v Sweden Result
28 Jul 2012
Japan v Sweden - Saturday 28th July 2012 - Result
Japan 0 Sweden 0 - Result
World champions Japan were held to a goalless draw by Sweden in the sunshine in Coventry this afternoon.
The world’s third ranked team created a glut of second-half chances but poor finishing and stout defending led to the first 0-0 draw in the Olympic Football Tournament at the City of Coventry Stadium.
The family friendly atmosphere continued in the first game of the day with an abundance of flags from both nations being on show throughout the ground.
Fans proudly wore their country’s replica shirts and had their faces painted to show their support in this noon kick-off.
It was pretty even in the first half with both teams trying to pick out their team-mates with a short pass instead of hitting it long.
Yuki Ogimi had the first real effort on target in the 13th minute when she swiftly turned to hit an angled shot from just inside the area which was comfortably saved by keeper Hedvig Lindahl.
Swedish skipper Sara Thunebro responded four minutes later with a 25-yard shot which she arrowed straight at Japanese keeper Miho Fukumoto who saved in an unorthodox fashion with her knees.
Both teams then tried their luck from distance. Aya Sameshima’s 22-yard strike was straight at the keeper and Sofia Jakobsson curled an effort from the right hand edge of the box inches wide of the far post.
There was excitement among the crowd when Caroline Seger latched onto a pass from Lotta Schelin to burst into the area. Midfielder Homare Sawa helped out her defensive colleagues with a vital block as the score remained goalless at half-time.
Nahomi Kawasumi – who was on target in Japan’s opening Group F win over Canada – showed her team’s attacking intent in only the second minute of the second half. She raced forward to blast a 16-yard shot towards goal only for Lindahl to dive to her left to make a great save.
There was another lovely move from the Japanese two minutes later when Kawasumi backheeled the ball into the path of Shinobu Onho whose left-wing cross found Sawa and she fired her attempt straight at the keeper from eight yards.
Sawa picked out captain Miyama with a great crossfield pass and she cut inside only to send a shot high over the bar as Norio Sasaki’s team continued to press for a breakthrough goal.
The decibel levels inside the stadium increased with each Japanese attack and that was the case when Onho sprinted from the half-way line. She exchanged passes with Ogimi before failing to make the most of the chance from 14 yards.
It was starting to become one-way traffic towards Sweden’s penalty area. Yukari Kinga’s right wing cross reached striker Onho only for her effort was collected by a diving Lindahl.
There was a rare chance for Sweden in the 71st minute when Schelin had a chance to grab her third goal of the tournament with a long-range shot which failed to beat the alert keeper.
Sweden might have snatched an unlikely victory when Thunebro’s left-wing centre found Seger near the penalty spot. The midfielder failed to get enough power on her header and the chance was lost as the game finished goalless.