Group B - Matchday Two: Japan 6-0 South Africa
Maldonado: A rampant Japan got their FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup campaign back on track, thrashing South Africa 6-0 at Estadio Domingo Burgueño on Friday.
Haruka Osawa and Sara Ito provided two goals apiece, while Tomoko Tanaka and Yuzuki Yamamoto also got on the scoresheet as the Little Nadeshiko returned to their devastating best to completely outclass their opponents.
With four points from their opening two matches, Japan are now a single point away from sealing a sixth consecutive appearance in the knockout stage, with their fate to be determined in Tuesday's final group stage clash against Mexico.
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None of the sides in Group B had found the back of the net on Matchday One, but it took less than four minutes for Osawa to get Japan up and running; punishing a dreadful missed clearance from Yenzokuhle Ngubane to stroke home a simple opening goal.
Playing alongside Tanaka at the point of the Japanese attack, Osawa was involved in all of Japan's brightest early moments, and she doubled the advantage when she neatly volleyed home Chihiro Tomioka's measured 23rd minute cross.
Osawa was also prominent in the third and fourth goals, first winning the penalty kick which was dispatched by Tanaka in the 37th minute, then watching on four minutes later as Ito made it 4-0 after the initial Osawa effort had been blocked.
With Japan firmly in control, the red hot Osawa was replaced by Chihiro Ishida at half-time, but, even without their brightest star, the Little Nadeshiko show went on, with Ito slamming home another penalty in the 55th minute.
To South Africa's credit, they managed to reduce the glaring errors of the first half to improve defensively as the match went on, but they were punished once more when they switched off in the first minute of added time to allow Yuzuki Yamamoto to ease home a deserved sixth Japanese goal and put the icing on a commanding win.
Futoshi Ikeda's side, though they still have some work to do against Mexico at the same venue on Tuesday, now appear likely to play knockout football, while South Africa will need a thumping win against Brazil to remain in contention.
Photos: FIFA via Getty Images