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FIFA TSG report highlights Japan’s excellence

Kuala Lumpur: Women’s football is showing great improvements from a technical, tactical and fitness perspective according to a FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) analysis on the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 which was won by Japan for the first time in their history.

With the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019™ set to kick off in France in less than 200 days, the report’s key conclusions focus on the improvements in goalkeeping and defensive organisation since the launch of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2002.

This year’s showpiece was one with the fewest goals scored (89) as compared to 113 goals at the previous edition in Papua New Guinea in 2016. With a tournament average of 12.9 shots on goal per team in a game, champions Japan excelled with 7.5 shots on goal, second only to the United States.

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There was praise for the Asian teams in their use of three-player combinations to create

overloads and unlock defences. The report said: “Asian teams are particularly known for

successfully deploying this method – in which a player first plays a one two with a team-mate and then releases a third player on the overlap – and that mastery was once again on display, with DPR Korea and Japan repeatedly releasing players into space this way.”

The report also highlighted Japan’s speed of movement stating: “Japan were particularly adept at combining speed with an overall awareness of what was going on around them, perhaps as a result of the extra focus that they place on this quality. This is a concept that they instill in their players from an early age, with coaches actively encouraged to focus on decision-making in all their training drills and to embolden players to act on their own initiative.

“Girls in Japan tend to start playing football from the age of six, and their enjoyment and love of the game – stoked by this encouragement to express themselves – are among the defining reasons why so many of them progress and hone these skills throughout their development.”

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa praised the development of women’s football around the world as teams prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup next year in France.

“Women’s football is growing at a fast pace in Asia and around the world. The success of Japan at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 have encouraged more women in Asia to play the sport professionally and at the grassroots level.

“The stats provided by the FIFA Technical Study Group is a remarkable indication of how women’s football has improved on and off the field over the years. Evidently, this translates into better performances by teams at the highest level as seen by Japan at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.”

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