Japan against China in Asian Cup


AFC women’s Asian Cup: Seeking their third title on the trot, holders Japan will start as firm favourites in their semifinal match against former champions China in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup here on Thursday. Follow Insidesport.IN For more updates

China have not put a foot wrong in the continental showpiece having beaten Chinese Taipei and Iran 4-0 and 7-0 in the group stage before emerging 3-1 victorious over Vietnam in the quarterfinals.

AFC women’s Asian Cup: Japan seek to continue domination of recent years against China in women’s Asian Cup semis

Also read: AFC Women’s Asian Cup: Vietnam defeat Thailand to boost FIFA World Cup hopes

But two-time defending champions Japan will be an altogether different opponents for China, who will have to play out of their skins to have any chance of advancing to the final for the first time since 2008.

From their previous five meetings against Japan, China only victory dates back to 2008 when they won 3-1 in Ho Chi Minh.

Since winning their eighth title in 2006, China have not been able to reach the final though they finished third in the last two editions in 2014 and 2018.

On the other hand, for the 2011 FIFA World Cup winners Japan, a win at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on Thursday will take them closer to become only the third team to win three consecutive titles.

Japan head coach Futoshi Ikeda is confident of defeating China, saying they have a game plan to handle the eight-time winners.

“We know what we have to do to beat China PR. Our team has worked hard in this competition to be where we are. We have to pay attention to our performance,” said Ikeda.

AFC women’s Asian Cup: Japan seek to continue domination of recent years against China in women’s Asian Cup semis

“China have some very good players. They are very experienced and as a team have good understanding. However, our game plan is to strike first, it is important to do that against China.”

Ikeda admitted beating China would not be easy but had full faith in his players to deliver.

“Our opponents can be very dangerous and we have identified their players who tend to find empty spaces. We must be aware of these situations and try to control the match. It will not be easy but we are confident of getting the result tomorrow.”

China coach Shui Qingxia said there is no point in thinking about the past.

“I think the past should remain in the past. Anything is possible in football and we will do our best to beat our opponents tomorrow. We will play to our strengths, especially when switching between defence and attack,” she said.

“Japan is a good team in terms of possession rate. We’ve been following their progress in the competition and the likes of Mana Iwabuchi and Mina Tanaka can be dangerous. We also have players who can cause problems for the opponents.”

AFC women’s Asian Cup: Japan seek to continue domination of recent years against China in women’s Asian Cup semis

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