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Kawasumi returns as Japan name squad for Jordan 2018


Monday, March 19, 2018
Nahomi Kawasumi-japan3

Tokyo: Reigning champions Japan have announced their squad for AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018, with World Cup-winning striker Nahomi Kawasumi making a surprise  return to the national team for the first time in two years.


The US-based 32-year-old – whose glittering résumé includes a FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup and an Olympic silver medal, was named in Asako Takakura’s side despite not featuring for the Nadeshiko since March 2016.



Kawasumi (pictured above, right), who contributed two goals when Japan became world champions in Germany in 2011, is yet to feature in Takakura’s plans since her appointment as head coach following the 2016 Rio Olympics qualifying tournament.

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Elsewhere, the squad has a more recognisable look, and includes the bulk of the team that finished a creditable sixth at the Algarve Cup in Portugal earlier this month.



Japan’s experience lies mainly in its defensive stocks, with the ever-present trio of Saki Kumaga, Aya Sameshima and Rumi Utsugi accounting for 287 international appearances between them, while fellow World Cup-winner Mizuho Sakaguchi is the most capped player with 119.



Kumi Yokoyama and Mana Iwabuchi appear to be side’s key goal threats, with 23-year-old Mina Tanaka increasingly pressing her claims for selection in recent months.

The squad is vastly different to the one that lifted the trophy in Hanoi four years, with just seven of the 23 players who took the Nadeshiko to their first Asian title earning selection.



Japan will meet Ghana in a friendly match in Nagasaki on April 1, before travelling to Jordan, where they will aim to become the first team to win back-to-back AFC Women’s Asian Cup titles since DPR Korea in 2003.



Their campaign begins against Vietnam on April 7, but all eyes will be on their final group match, when they tackle World No 4 Australia in a repeat of the 2014 final on April 13.






Japan Squad



 

Number

Position

Player Name

Club

Caps (Goals)

1

GK

Sakiko IKEDA

Urawa Red Diamonds

10 (0)

2

DF

Rumi UTSUGI

Seattle Reign FC (USA)

106 (6)

3

DF

Aya SAMESHIMA

INAC Kobe Leonessa

88 (4)

4

DF

Saki KUMAGAI

Olympique Lyonnais (FRA)

93 (0)

5

DF

Nana ICHISE

Vegalta Sendai

9 (0)

6

DF

Saori ARIYOSHI

NTV Beleza

52 (1)

7

MF

Emi NAKAJIMA

INAC Kobe Leonessa

50 (10)

8

FW

Mana IWABUCHI

INAC Kobe Leonessa

47 (13)

9

FW

Nahomi KAWASUMI

Seattle Reign FC (USA)

82 (20)

10

MF

Mizuho SAKAGUCHI

NTV Beleza

119 (28)

11

FW

Mina TANAKA

NTV Beleza

24 (6)

12

MF

Hikaru NAOMOTO

Urawa Red Diamonds

16 (0)

13

FW

Yuika SUGASAWA

Urawa Red Diamonds

45 (12)

14

MF

Yui HASEGAWA

NTV Beleza

17 (3)

15

MF

Yu NAKASATO

NTV Beleza

7 (0)

16

MF

Rin SUMIDA

NTV Beleza

10 (0)

17

DF

Hikari TAKAGI

Npjima Stella Kanagawa

16 (0)

18

GK

Ayaka YAMAHSITA

NTV Beleza

13 (0)

19

MF

Rika MASUYA

INAC Kobe Leonessa

18 (3)

20

FW

Kumi YOKOYAMA

FFC Turbine Potsdam (GER)

27 (11)

21

GK

Chika HIRAO

Albirex Niigata

0 (0)

22

DF

Risa SHIMIZU

NTV Beleza

4 (0)

23

DF

Shiori MIYAKE

INAC Kobe Leonessa

8 (0)

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