Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Tokyo: Japan coach Norio Sasaki has said that the Nadeshiko’s forthcoming friendly with the Netherlands will see the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup champions start their preparations for the final round of qualifiers for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
The November 29 friendly in the northern city of Volendam will be Japan’s first serious run out since an experiment squad that featured just six players with more than 10 international caps finished third at the 2015 EAFF (East Asian Football Federation) Women’s East Asian Cup in China back in August.
“This will be the new start for us to develop the team for the Olympic Games in Rio. It is such a great opportunity to play against one of the strongest opponents, the Netherlands,” the 2011 FIFA World and AFC Coach of the Year said in a statement issued by the Japan Football Association.
“They (the Netherlands) are organised, are tall and have skillful players in the offence. We want to try and see how we can do at this moment after examining our play in the World Cup,” continued the 57-year-old, who led reigning champions Japan to a runners-up finish at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, where they lost their crown to the United States following 5-2 defeat in the July 5 final in Vancouver.
Japan, silver medallists under Sasaki at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, will host the final round of Rio 2016 qualifiers, which are scheduled to kick-off at the end of February next year. In addition to the Nadeshiko, the six-team, round-robin tournament will also feature 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup runners-up Australia, DPR Korea, China, Korea Republic, and qualifying second round winners Vietnam. The top two sides will go on to represent Asia at the women’s football tournament of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.