Japan aims to defend title in women's World Cup

June 10, 2015 5:48 am 

VANCOUVER, June 8 — Japan aimed to defend the title in the women's World Cup, said coach Norio Sasaki in a press conference before their Monday's match against Switzerland.

Japan upset the United States in the 2011 final, winning in a penalty shootout. Since then, they went on to win a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics and win the 2014 Asian Cup.

"Finally we are here for the World Cup. It has been for years from the last one and we have worked hard and accumulated expertise. It will be utilized in our games but we will concentrate on our game tomorrow. Since we won in 2011 we have taken lot of time to win again in the championship. We will rely on team work and strong psychological strength to achieve our ultimate goal," said Sasaki.

Despite showing defending ambitions, Sasaki remained cautious about their group C opponents.

"For Switzerland, they have a high level of skills. We have to be very cautious about them. And for Ecuador and Cameroon, I do not have too much information (about them). But I will watch their game and analyze them and then plan for our second and third games. Every game will be our ultimate game, there is no difference in our approach."

Captain Aya Miyama, a two-time Asian Player of the Year, said: "We felt a lot of pressure after our World Cup win, but we have gone through that. Now we also put some pressure on other teams since we are defending champions."

On the artificial turf, she said: "We have a high level of adaptability and are not too concerned about it."

Miyama also talked about the return of Homare Sawa, 2011 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year.

"She is an experienced player, having her back as a teammate has an indescribable meaning for us."

The 36-year-old Sawa will be making a record sixth appearance in women's World Cup.

Of Japan's 23-member roster, 17 were on the team in Germany. Sasaki said the senior players will be the core of the team. (PNA/Xinhua)

LAP/EDS

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