Europe’s strongest streak…’Nadeshiko Japan’ the secret to becoming the number one candidate for the World Cup championship

The momentum of ‘Nadeshiko Japan’ is unusual. Nadeshiko is the Japanese word for dianthus. Nickname for the Japanese women’s soccer team. It was attached because Nadeshiko symbolizes a strong and upright woman.

The Japanese women’s soccer team, ranked 11th in the FIFA (International Football Federation) rankings, is truly outrageous at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. On the 5th, they defeated Norway (12th place) 3-1 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Their opponent in the quarterfinals was Sweden (3rd place) on the 11th. It’s tough, but I think we can win. After winning the 2011 World Cup, they are aiming for their second world championship. From the preliminaries, Japan received praise saying, “It is fun to watch well-organized soccer.” In the group stage, they defeated Zambia (77th) 5-0, Costa Rica (36th) 2-0, and Spain (6th) 4-0. Up to the round of 16, 4 matches, 14 points and 1 conceded. Japan, which was ranked in the top 10 in the prediction of winning candidates before the start of the tournament, is now the number one team to win. It received 5 votes in the US sports media expert vote, beating England (3 votes) and Sweden (2 votes). That said, the performance of this tournament was outstanding.

The strength of Japanese women’s soccer comes from a long history. From the 1960s to the 1970s, ‘grassroots soccer’ was established in Japan, where women’s soccer teams at schools and corporations organized local competitions and small leagues on their own. In 1979, the Women’s Football Federation was established, and since then, a number of competitions such as the national championship have been held. The number of women players registered in the association increased from 919 in 1979 to 10,409 in 1989. As the market grew, companies such as Mitsubishi continued to sponsor it. With the launch of the semi-professional ‘Nadeshiko League’ in 1989, the range has widened. The roots are different from Korea, where the women’s soccer federation was established in 2001.

Support was temporarily reduced due to the economic recession in the 1990s, but with the economic recovery in the 2000s, Japanese women’s soccer set specific goals of ‘hosting the Women’s World Cup by 2030’ and ‘winning the World Cup by 2015′ and moved. In parallel with the elite program that sends key players abroad and supports expenses, they really won the World Cup in 2011. At the time, it was said that it was effective to use training to improve skills by selecting excellent players from all over the country and competing in the boys’ team when they were young. The miraculous victory sparked another women’s soccer boom in Japan. Hinata Miyazawa (5 goals, Mainavi Sendai), the leading scorer in this tournament, and Riko Ueki (Tokyo Verdy), who scored 2 goals, were both born in 1999, and started playing soccer in 2011 after seeing the myth of “Nadeshiko Japan”.안전놀이터

Japan has participated in all nine Women’s World Cups so far. In the beginning, it was common to be eliminated from the group stage, but by winning the championship in 2011 and runner-up in 2015, it has established itself as a world powerhouse. Then, in 2019, when they were eliminated in the round of 16, the incisive referee, and in 2021, the professional WE league was launched to create an environment for players to focus on soccer. It is analyzed that “the propaganda of this tournament is largely influenced by this professional league.”

The strength of ‘Nadeshiko Japan’ is, of course, its solid organization. The head coach is Futoshi Ikeda (53). He has experience in leading national teams by age group in the past, so he has a high understanding of each player. A year before the World Cup, discuss with the players and build a three-back (last three defenders) tactic to maximize power by activating communication. Instead, it minimizes the elements that hinder ‘one team’. This is the background except for veteran mana Iwabuchi (30), who scored 37 goals in 90 A matches ahead of this tournament. Coach Ikeda said, “We made complex considerations such as the current situation of the team and ran various simulations.”

A quick tactical response is also a long term. In the group stage, he played attacking soccer to increase share against Zambia and Costa Rica, but played counterattacks against Spain, which is considered a strong player. The share against Spain was 21% to 68% (11% in contention). “Japan is like a club team that has been breathing for a long time” is the reaction of the opposing team.

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