Westfield National U17 Women lose to Japan

Australia have ended their 2011 AFC U16 Women’s Championships, suffering a spirited 1-0 loss to Japan.

Australia have ended their 2011 AFC U16 Women-s Championships, suffering a spirited 1-0 loss to Japan.

Finishing fifth in the group, the Westfield National U17 Women have not qualified for the 2012 FIFA U17 Womens World Cup. Japan, DPR Korea and China P.R have all progressed to next year-s tournament, following China-s 0-0 draw against Korea Republic and DPR Korea-s 8-0 hammering of Thailand.

Leading into the game, the Westfield National U17 Women were confident of defeating Japan, after some impressive previous performances against Thailand and DPR Korea.

With visible improvements over the four games prior, Australia were well prepared to battle with the 2011 AFC Champions, knowing the task to overcome a strong Japanese side was difficult, but achievable. Prior to the game, Australian coach Vicki Linton-s message to her players was simple.

“The focus of the game was to improve from our previous performance, in particularly, our solid defensive efforts against DPR Korea and from the teams performance against Thailand in which we were able to maintain productive possession for the majority of the match,” said Linton.

“Playing our final game against Japan, we wanted to finish the tournament off strongly.

“Knowing Japan is one of the best teams in the world, it provided us with an opportunity to compete against the best, on the world stage. We approached the game with the mentality to go out performing at our best and to win.”

In the opening 10 minutes, both teams displayed a high standard of football, with each sharing their control of the ball. Both the Australians and Japanese patiently kept possession, moving the ball from side to side waiting for the right moment to strike or for an opening to occur.

The first shot of the game arrived in the 11th minute, courtesy of pocket rocket Toriumi Yuka, arguably the smallest, but one of the most lethal players on the field.

The Japanese were able to masterfully play out from their defensive third, finding Toriumi Yuka out wide. After a penetrating run forward, Toriumi Yuka cut in to the edge of her attacking 18 yard box before shooting, but was only denied by Australian goalkeeper Eliza Campbell. Moving into the first 15 minutes of play, Campbell was the busier of the two goalkeepers.

It was Toriumi Yuka again in the 16th minute who tested Campbell after a switch of play by Sasaki found a well positioned Toriumi Yuka, who was able to gently caress her first touch into an attacking position, however, her shot did not challenge Campbell.

One minute later, Japan hit the lead with a diving headed goal by Momiki Yuka from close range. It was Toriumi Yuka again causing damage down Australia-s left hand side.

Shiraki Akari-s perfectly placed pass found Toriumi Yuka out wide, who was given enough time and space to drive in a cross, finding Momiki Yuka unchallenged at the back post.

The possession battle continued throughout the first half, which witnessed both teams playing free flowing football, greatly assisted by minimal stoppages.

It wasn-t until the 35th minute when Japan created another goal scoring opportunity. Momiki Yuka-s 18 yard curling power drive was destined to hit the back of the net, however, Australian goalkeeper Campbell had other plans. After an overlapping run by Miyake Shiori, a cut back ball found Momiki Yuka who-s shot was saved only by a fully outstretched right arm of Campbell.

Australia-s best opportunity in the first half arrived in the 41st minute, when the Westfield National U17 Women won possession in the middle third and were able to counter attack the Japanese.

A series of passes between Australia captain Alisha Bass and Amy Harrison soon eventuated into a shot by Harrison which sailed over the bar.

At half time, Australia made their first substitute with Breanna Sampson coming on for Natalie Tobin. Knowing they were still in the game, Australian coach - Linton, rallied the girls in search for a improved second half.

Addressing the players, Linton highlighted that although 1-0 down, the score line was respectable and that Australia still had an opportunity to snatch three points. Linton identified a few key problems at half time, including improvements in the defensive structure of the team and to be more composed in the attacking third.

The Japanese came out in the second half with all guns firing. The Australian-s almost found themselves down by two, but again the heroics of Campbell was able to keep the Westfield National U17 Women in the game.

Toriumi Yuka fired a canon at goal after a quick attack by the Japanese, but Campbell was equally up to the task, tapping the ball over the bar from close range. In the 65th minute, Campbell was again in the firing line, with a brilliant save to deny Japanese substitute Noguchi Ayaka.

Ayaka somehow found her way through the Australian defence and almost thought she had scored, until the giant sized hand of Campbell came between the ball and the goals.

Australia almost had an equaliser in the 78th minute. Building up from the back, Bass, Harrison and Australian substitute Lauren Brown were able to manoeuvre the ball between them, only to see the final shot sliced off the side of the boot from 16 yards.

A minute later, Lucy Metcalfe should have had her name on the scorers list after a pin pointed corner from Bass found Metcalfe at the back post. Rising unchallenged, the header missed the target by the narrowest of margins.

In the dying moments, Japan-s substitute Narumiya Yui was unlucky not score after her strike hit Campbell-s upright. Running with the ball along the goal line, Yui then checked inwards and struck a low driven shot at the near post which had Campbell beaten.

Speaking after the game, although disappointed with the result, Australian coach Linton was still upbeat about the team-s performance.

“Undoubtedly, today was our best performance by the team at these championships in regards to our attacking and defensive play. Although we lost 1-0, it is still a good result against a world class team.

Some players were showing signs of deterioration due to a demanding tournament and environment, however still managed to continue playing competitive football to the very end,” said Linton.

“Overall, I am pleased with the teams performance at these championships. With the limited amount of preparation in comparison to the other teams, it took the girls a while to lift to the level of our opposition. Once the girls settled, we were very competitive against the leading nations in Asia.

“As the coach, I am happy with the players ability to implement instructions and feedback. Despite the score lines in the opening two games, the team held together well to finish the tournament strongly. Our captain Alisha Bass lead the team well on and off the field, Eliza Campbell put in two exceptional performances against two top Asian teams and Elizabeth Ralston had an outstanding tournament in central defence.”

Summing up the AFC U16 Womens Championships, Alisha Bass, captain of the Westfield National U17 Women also positively described the teams experiences.

Bass stated, “our goal was to improve every half, every game and I think we definitely achieved that. All the girls gelled really well off the field and I believe this was reflected in our on-field performances. Although we didn-t achieve our desired results - to qualify for the FIFA U17 Womens World Cup, we grew as players and as individuals from this experience”.

Match Details

Westfield National U17 Womens 0 Japan 1 (Momiki Yuka 17-) Jiangning Sport Centre, Nanjing, China, Sunday 13 November 2011 Referee: Praew SEMAKSUK (Thailand) Assistant Referees: Lee Seul GI (Republic Korea) & Hong Kum NYO (DPR Korea) Fourth Official: Cha Sung Mi (Korea Republic) Crowd: 350

Westfield National U17 Women-s line Up: 21. Eliza CAMPBELL (GK), 3. Elizabeth RALSTON, 5. Isobel COOTES, 6. Natalie TOBIN (20. Breanna SAMPSON 46-), 7. Amy HARRISON, 8. Olivia PRICE (27. Lauren BROWN 69-), 10. Alisha BASS (c), 13. Grace HENRY, 14. Julia SARDO (15. Lucy METCALFE 53-), 17. Ebony PHILCOX, 23. Allison CLARKE

Substitutes not used: 1. Penelope EDMONDS (GK), 18. Shamiran KHAMIS (GK), 2. Emma CHECKER, 4. Alexandra NATOLI, 9. Adriana JONES, 11.Meg MCLAUGHLIN, 12. Sarah CARROLL, , 16. Jessica DILLION, 19. Joanna MARTINO

Yellow Cards: Nil

Red Cards: Nil

Japan line up: 1. Inoue NENE (GK), 4. Miyake SHIORI, 6. Ruka NORIMATSU, 9. SASAKI, 11. Momiki YUKA (7. Narumiya YUI 72-), 14. Hirata MIKI (15. Noguchi AYAKA 63-), 17. NAGAMACHI, 19. Matsubara ARISA, 20. Shiraki AKARI, 22. Hatanaka MIYUKA, 24. Toriumi YUKA

Substitutes not used: 2. Shimizu RISA, 3. Mayo DOKO, 5. Manya MIHO, 8. Sumida RIN, 10. Masuya RIKA, 12. Chika HIRAO (GK), 13. ITO, 16. Nakamura MIZUKI, 18. Inoue AYAKA, 21. Someya MIYU (GK)

Yellow Cards: Nil

Red Cards: Nil