Champions in 2011, underwhelming finalists in 2015, it’s hard to know just what Asako Takakura’s side will muster this summer.
The team a little more polarised than some may like, with a high number of older players involved as well as the lesser experienced ones, few currently in their prime.
One of the most technically gifted nations to play the sport, Japan may not have fully convinced at the Asian Cup last year but still came away with the trophy; a nod to their growing resolve.
Rather humiliated by the USA in the final four years ago, France could prove the platform for Nadeshiko to put some demons to bed and remind the wold of their calibre.
Goalkeepers: Sakiko Ikeda (Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies), Ayaka Yamashita (Nippon TV Beleza), Chika Hirao (Albirex Niigata Ladies).
Defenders: Aya Sameshima (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Rumi Utsugi (Reign FC), Saki Kumagai (Olympique Lyonnais), Shiori Miyake (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Risa Shimizu (Nippon TV Beleza), Nana Ichise (Mynavi Vegalta Sendai Ladies), Asato Miyagawa (Nippon TV Beleza), Moeka Minami (Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies).
Midfielders: Mizuho Sakaguchi (Nippon TV Beleza), Emi Nakajima (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Yuka Momiki (Nippon TV Beleza), Yui Hasegawa (Nippon TV Beleza), Hina Sugita (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Narumi Miura (Nippon TV Beleza).
Attackers: Yuika Sugawaga (Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies), Mana Iwabuchi (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Kumi Yokoyama (AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies), Rikako Kobayashi (Nippon TV Beleza), Riko Ueki (Nippon TV Beleza), Jun Endo (Nippon TV Beleza).
The last four years have been nothing if not transformative for Japan, the squad lacks consistency yet still carries an incredible threat. When on their game, Japan can make themselves unplayable, but so much of the last few years has seen Nadeshiko fluctuate and it’s hard to predict where in the group they’ll finish. It seems impossible that Japan won’t reach the knockouts but whether it will be as one of the top two in the group remains to be seen.
Also see: Our main 2019 Women’s World Cup page.
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