Italy rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Japan 4-3 Wednesday, earning a spot in the Confederations Cup semifinals.
First-half substitute Sebastian Giovinco scored the winner in the 86th minute of an entertaining match at the Arena Pernambuco, pounding home a cross from Claudio Marchisio.
After a dismal start for the Azzurri that saw Japan score twice in the opening 33 minutes, Daniele De Rossi pulled one back with a header in the 41st. Japan defender Atsuto Uchida scored an own-goal in the 50th and Mario Balotelli converted a penalty kick in the 52nd.
Japan had taken the lead with a penalty kick by Keisuke Honda in the 21st. Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa doubled the lead for Japan in the 33rd after a defensive error.
Shinji Okazaki made it 3-3 in the 69th with a header.
The Azzurri moved even with Brazil at six points atop Group A. Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 earlier Sunday and also advanced courtesy of Italy’s win.
In the final round of group matches, Italy will face host Brazil in Salvador on Saturday, and Japan meets Mexico in Belo Horizonte.
Japan and the United States made it through the semifinals of the womens Olympic football tournament Monday, setting up a rematch of the World Cup final won by the Japanese just a year ago.Japan beat France 2-1 in London and the United States defeated Canada 4-3 in extra time in a thrilling match at Old Trafford in Manchester.
The U.S. will be going for revenge and its third-straight gold medal. Japan will be playing in its first Olympic final to try to show its World Cup win was not a fluke.
Read the rest of the story: US and Japan to face off again in Olympic final.
Japan advanced to its first Olympic semifinal in 44 years by beating Egypt 3-0 in the quarterfinals, giving it a chance to improve on the bronze it won in 1968.
“We are now in the position to challenge the world,” Japan coach Takashi Sekizuka said. “The team is getting stronger and stronger game by game.”
Japan will face Mexico in a semifinal at Wembley Stadium in London.
The match at Old Trafford in front of more than 70,000 fans was another solid display from the Japanese, who haven’t conceded a goal so far. They took the tournament by surprise by beating Spain in the first group stage match, and have carried that momentum all the way to the semifinals.
Read the rest of the story: Japan reaches semifinals with 3-0 win over Egypt in men’s Olympic football.
Japan produced the first upset of the Olympic Games when they beat potential gold medalists Spain 1-0 at Hampden Park, Glasgow on the opening day of the men’s soccer competition on Thursday.
Spain, bidding to add the Olympic title to their world and European crowns, finished with 10 men after midfielder Inigo Martinez was sent off just before halftime having found no answer to Yuki Otsu’s 34th minute goal.
In the other early matches Morocco and Honduras drew 2-2 at Hampden, while Mexico and South Korea drew 0-0 at St James’ Park.
There were five matches being played later on Thursday including favorites Brazil against Egypt and hosts Britain against Senegal.
Read the rest of the story: Japan Kick Off With Shock Win Over Spain.
Japan’s women footballers kick off their quest for a rare double on Wednesday as the first action of the 2012 London Olympics gets under way.
The Asian giants upset the established order of women’s football last year after stunning the heavily favoured USA to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Germany on penalties.
The Nadeshiko are now attempting to become only the second side in history to hold the FIFA Women’s World Cup and Women’s Olympic Football Tournament gold medal at the same time in London.
But Japan, who face Canada in Coventry in their opening Group F game, will be desperate to make a winning start after a troubled build-up which has included defeats to France and the United States
Read the rest of the story: Japan set sights on more golden glory.
Manchester United new boy Shinji Kagawa is determined to make a lasting impact at Old Trafford following his move from Borussia Dortmund.
The 23-year-old was the subject of interest from major clubs from around the world after impressing this season for the Bundesliga champions. However, Sir Alex Ferguson moved quickly to secure the signing of the Japan midfielder.
Kagawa is now eagerly anticipating getting started for the Red Devils and insists he wants to carve out his own legacy at Old Trafford after turning down the chance to wear the famed No.7 shirt once donned with such distinction by George Best, David Beckham, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
United’s latest signing announced the decision in an impromptu press conference at Tokyos Narita Airport following a whirlwind trip to England.
In addition to a flock of journalists, the Japan international was greeted by 100 fans seeking autographs and handshakes.
“Ive just joined the team and havent accomplished anything yet,” Kagawa said after the 12-hour flight. “I want to make a name for myself [at United] on my own terms.”
Kagawa further elaborated that he had asked for a number with personal meaning, leading to speculation among Japanese media that the player could wear the 8, 26, or 29 he once wore at Cerezo Osaka, or the 23 shirt that brought him fame at Dortmund.
Despite the rigorous travel schedule, the Samurai Blue star still appeared excited after finally putting pen to paper on the move.
“The contract was as long as Id expected from a club [like United],” Kagawa laughed. “When I was at [Old Trafford], I thought about how incredible it would be if I could score there.”
Japan is gearing up for its first Women’s World Cup final as the national team gets ready to face the US with the hopes of a subdued nation on its shoulders.
Although kick off for Sunday night’s final in Germany will be 3:45 a.m. local time, Monday is a national holiday in Japan so bars and restaurants across the country are staying open to show the game live.
Grateful for some good news after slow months of painful recovery from the March mega-quake and tsunami – not to mention the ongoing nuclear crisis and political deadlock – the women’s team unexpected run to the final has lifted morale in Japan.
Read the rest of the story: Women’s World Cup final: A proud Japan braces for big match vs. USA.
Germany is towering over Japan in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals with a height advantage nearly as big as the home field advantage.The sellout crowd of 26,000 will be cheering for the host team Saturday as the nation has done since the tournament started two weeks ago. And with its penchant for lethal headers, Germany should have a distinct advantage over the much smaller Japanese.The Asian side is renowned for passing combinations and quickness. But when England used a physical game in the last group game, Japan lost 2-0. Germany, too, is expected to step up with bold challenges.
Read the rest of the story: Germany towering favorite over Japan in quarters – World Soccer.
With a perfect two victories out of two matches, Japan has reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup with flair and a tournament-leading six goals so far. England was saved by a fighting performance to earn another day at the tournament.
Homare Sawa got the World Cup’s first hat trick to lead Japan past Mexico 4-0.
For England, gangly midfielder Jill Scott was just as important with a goal and an assist to resurrect England’s campaign with 2-1 win over New Zealand.
It gave Japan 6 points, two more than England, whic
Read the rest of the story: Japan through, England resurrected at World Cup.