Japan routs Mexico 4-0 in women’s World Cup
Japan captain Homare Sawa scored a hat trick as her side
trounced Mexico 4-0 Friday to reach the quarterfinals of the
Women’s World Cup for the second time.
Sawa, playing in her fifth World Cup, opened the scoring in the
13th minute, and added her second in the 39th after Shinobu Ohno
had made it 2-0 in the 15th.
The 32-year-old Sawa was in plenty of space when she was picked
out by Yukari Kinga to complete her hat trick in the 80th, before
22,291 fans at the 29,870-capacity Bay Arena.
”I didn’t dare imagine that I would score three goals,” said
Sawa, who became her country’s top scorer – male or female – with
”I’m really, really surprised,” she added. ”I would like to
continue to contribute as much as possible to Japanese
In Group B’s late game in Dresden, both England and New Zealand
need a win to have any realistic hope of progress, while Mexico’s
future participation is on the ropes.
”Mentally and physically we will have to recover from this
because this was quite painful, this defeat,” said Mexico coach
Japan pushed forward at pace when it had the ball and defended
with commitment without it.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Mexico captain Maribel
Dominguez. Early on, she was crowded off the ball, bringing an end
to a promising move instigated by Stephany Mayor on the right
Sawa deservedly put her side ahead shortly afterward, when she
was allowed get to Aya Miyama’s free kick to head past Cecilia
Santiago from close range.
A clever touch that took the ball past two defenders allowed
Ohno to fire high into the roof of the net two minutes later, after
the alert Yuki Nagasato laid the ball off.
Japan’s accurate passing and intelligent running off the ball
meant Mexico was being completely overrun in midfield.
Santiago did just enough to put Kozue Ando off when the Japan
forward was through on goal after a long ball forward in the
With half an hour played, fans began a series of Mexican waves,
in a cruel twist for the beleaguered Mexicans on the field.
Dominguez found herself alone facing three Japanese defenders in
the 33rd but her attempt was stopped, and although Veronica Perez
was lucky to get another chance from the rebound, it was sent
Perez’s free kick a minute later was easily gathered by Japan
keeper Ayumi Kaihori.
Another header from Sawa – this time from a Miyama corner –
effectively killed the game in the 39th.
Santiago should not have been beaten at the near post, but the
competition’s youngest ever goalkeeper – she was 16 years and 251
days old for the draw with England – was left badly exposed by her
In a rare instance of good fortune for the Mexicans, Nagasato
had an effort wrongly ruled out for offside before the
Mayor brought a smart save from Kaihori in the 49th, as Mexico
sought a response, but still Japan pushed forward.
Nagasato’s shot was deflected onto the post in the 56th, with
Miyama hitting the crossbar from the resultant corner.
Cuellar appeared to wave the white flag when he took off the
ineffective Dominguez for Kenti Robles – a defender – in the
”The doctors were a little bit concerned about Maribel and we
decided to take her off so she can play in the game against New
Zealand,” he explained. ”She is a strong-willed player and she
did what she could, but she’s not at a 100 percent.”
His counterpart, meanwhile, warned against the rising
expectations surrounding his side.
”It’s an honor to be counted among the contenders for the final
winner, but we need to go step by step,” Norio Sasaki said.
”We are continuously improving. It’s an ongoing process and we
would like to get even better.”
Japan: Ayumi Kaihori, Aya Sameshima, Saki Kumagai, Azusa
Iwashimizu, Yukari Kinga, Aya Miyama, Homare Sawa (Rumi Utsugi,
83), Mizuho Sakaguchi, Shinobu Ohno (Nahomi Kawasumi, 69), Yuki
Nagasato, Kozue Ando (Mana Iwabuchi, 69).
Mexico: Cecilia Santiago, Luz del Rosario Saucedo, Alina
Garciamendez, Natalie Garcia, Natalie Vinti, Nayeli Rangel (Liliana
Mercado, 46), Dinora Garza, Monica Ocampo, Veronica Perez (Teresa
Noyola, 79), Stephany Mayor, Maribel Dominguez (Kenti Robles,
Referee: Christina Pedersen, Norway.