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Friday, April 6, 2012

Women's Kirin Challenge Cup - Updated

Wow! Japan beat Brazil 4-1 to take the inaugural Kirin Cup! Results down below!  

With the 2012 Algarve Cup complete, and Japan's woman's soccer team--known as the Nadeshiko--taking 2nd place, losing to a very strong Germany 4-3 in the finals, the next big tournament for the national team is the brand new 2012 Women's Kirin Challenge Cup.
Held in various venues in Japan between April 1 - 5, 2012, the three-team event will feature Japan, Brazil and the United States, all in preparation for the 2012 Olympics in London, England later this summer. These are three of the four top teams in the world (Germany), and is sure to provide some exciting football action!  
“This is something we wanted to have,” opines Japan national coach Sasaki Norio (surname first). “Brazil has a different playing style than the others and we haven’t played them at the world championship, so by playing them I hope we can learn what we can do and what we cannot do. It’ll be also nice if we can give a playing opportunity to those players who haven’t played (against) the U.S. before.”
The Kirin Challenge Cup is a newly formed tournament organized by Japan's football (soccer) federation along with Dentsu Incorporated, on of the world's largest advertising agencies, with its global headquarters situated in the Minato district of Tokyo.
Games will be held in Sendai - in the north eastern part of Japan that was hit hard by the March 11, 2011, 9.0 Magnitude earthquake, and in Kobe, itself hit very hard by the devastating Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995 that nearly reduced the country's fifth largest city to rubble.  

By the way, reports out of Japan this week say Japanese star player Sawa Homare (surname first) who recently stepped down as national team captain is suffereing from vertigo (benign paroxysmal postural vertigo) and could miss the tournament.

Ueda Eiji (surname first), the head of the JFA Women’s Committee states: “(In 2011) our women’s team produced the best result and that came from their strong ties with men’s football, the Nadeshiko League and regional support – in other words, comprehensive support from all of Japanese football.”

Despite Eiji's comments, Japan's women's team still travels via Economy Class by plane, while the underachieving (or perhaps they are indeed playing to their level) continues to fly First Class. It sounds like class-prejudice via sexism still exists in Japanese soccer.  

 Brazil 0 2 002 1 7 -6
 Japan 4 2 010  5 2 +3
 United States 4 2 110 4 1 +3

1 Apr 20121 - Japan v United States - 1Yurtec Stadium Sendai, Sendai, Japan

3 Apr 20123 - United States v Brazil  - 0 Fukuda Denshi Arena, Chiba, Japan

5 Apr 20124-  Japan v Brazil -1 Homes Stadium,         Kobe, Japan

The U.S. games will be on either the ESPN 2 or ESPN3 television stations.
By the way - notice Japan's favorable schedule as the host nation? Four days between games, while the U.S. and Brazil only get two. Not to mention jet-lag for the visitors. 
Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife will provide results and game write-ups, so keep checking in!
By Andrew Joseph

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