FACTBOX-Women's World Cup qualifiers Japan

FACTBOX-Women's World Cup qualifiers Japan
By Reuters

04/07/2015 at 08:45Updated 04/07/2015 at 08:48

Defending champions Japan will play the United States in the final of the Women's World Cup in Vancouver on Sunday.

World Cup record:

Previous appearances in finals: (6) 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011

Best performance: Winners 2011

Drawn in Group C with Switzerland, Cameroon, Ecuador

- - -

Coach: Norio Sasaki

Long-serving coach who had a modest playing career in the lower leagues of Japanese football before retiring at 33.

Had a spell managing men's side Omiya Ardija before switching to the women's game in 2006 and has enjoyed unrivalled success.

Followed up the World Cup triumph four years ago with a first Asian Cup title last year. Also led the team to a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics following a narrow 2-1 loss to the U.S. in the final at Wembley Stadium.

Has also taken charge of the youth sides, helping to bring through the next generation to the women's national team.

- - -

Key player: Aya Miyama. Age: 30. Midfielder

The technically-gifted and efficient ball-playing midfielder often finds herself in the middle of the action and is often the catalyst of pivotal Japanese attacks. She is the only Japanese player with two goals in Canada, both from the penalty spot, including one in the semi-final win over England.

Miyama, a two-times Asian Football Confederation Player of the Year (2011, 2012), is competing in her fourth World Cup and has been named to the shortlist for the Golden Ball, the award given to the top player of the month-long tournament.

- - -

FIFA world ranking: 4

- - -

How they reached the final: Won Group C with a 3-0 record; Beat the Netherlands 2-1 in the Round of 16; Beat Australia 1-0 in the quarter-finals; Beat England 2-1 in semi-finals.

- -


Goalkeepers: Miho Fukumoto, Ayumi Kaihori, Erina Yamane

Defenders: Yukari Kinga, Megumi Kamionobe, Azusa Iwashimizu, Aya Sameshima, Saori Ariyoshi, Kana Kitahara, Yuri Kawamura, Saki Kumagai

Midfielder: Homare Sawa, Kozue Ando, Aya Miyama, Nahomi Kawasumi, Mizuho Sakaguchi, Asuna Tanaka, Rumi Utsugi, Asano Nagasato

Forwards: Shinobu Ohno, Yuki Ogimi, Yuika Sugasawa, Mana Iwabuchi (Compiled by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Both)