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Japan end England challenge
 Women's Football News 21 Jul 2010
Japan end England challenge - 21 Jul 2010 - Women's Football NewsEngland are out of the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup after they were beaten 3-1 by Japan in their final group game in Bielefeld.
Following their defeat in the previous match against Mexico, only a win would have given Mo Marley's side a chance of progressing, provided the other match between Nigeria and Mexico did not finish in a draw.
However England once again struggled to make an impression in the final third and could have no complaints as Japan had most of the play.
England opted for an unchanged line up at the start of the game but it was Japan who were quickly into their stride and there was an early scare as a Yuria Obara cross flashed across the face of goal.
Mana Iwabuchi then broke through on goal after getting past Lucy Bronze but a sliding challenge from Jordan Nobbs proved to be just enough as the Japanese striker shot weakly at Rebecca Spencer.
Japan's early enterprise was rewarded in the 20th minute as they took the lead. England originally had a free kick in the other half of the field but elected to play the ball sideways and lost possession. Japan broke down the left where Bronze's clearance was intercepted by the skilful Obara who made her way to the goal line where her low centre was dummied at the near post by Megumi Takase, for Emi Nakajima who coolly slotted home from six yards.
England responded with a snap shot from Michelle Hinnigan which was saved by Erina Yamane but Japan continued to look dangerous at the other end with Takase going close via a header, while a goalbound shot from Nakajima was blocked by her own team mate Iwabuchi.
Toni Duggan was narrowly off target with a 25-yard drive and Isobel Christiansen hit the side netting from the edge of the area but once again the vast majority of England's attempts on goal came from outside the area.
Needing goals to keep their qualifying hopes alive, England introduced Danielle Carter early in the second half and the young Arsenal striker looked lively from the moment she came on. Carter went close from a corner when, after doing well to work herself an opening, she drove her shot over the bar.
England's best chance to equalise came as the Japanese defence failed to deal with a Gilly Flaherty cross but Demi Stokes lifted her shot over from eight yards.
Back came Japan and they passed up a glorious opportunity themselves, Obara's deep cross picking out an unmarked Takase who headed wide from close range.
However three minutes later, Japan were two ahead after Misaki Kobayashi drilled a free kick into the area where Natsuki Kishikawa got to the ball first and, although the ball came off her shoulder, it looped over a helpless Spencer and into the net.
While England were reeling, Japan struck another blow within four minutes as another free kick into the area was miscontrolled by Iwabuchi but Kishikawa reacted quickly to turn and give Spencer no chance with a clinical finish inside the far post.
There was time for England to grab a consolation as Carter went down in the area after having her arm pulled and, although the penalty decision admittedly looked a soft one, Duggan stepped up to plant a well struck shot into the corner of the net.
England did not give up but it was too late for a comeback and there was also despair for Japan as a late equaliser for Mexico against Nigeria ensured that they were also on their way home after the match.
England Under-20: Rebecca Spencer, Gilly Flaherty (sub Rebecca Jane 76mins), Chelsea Weston, Jade Moore, Kerys Harrop, Lucy Bronze, Isobel Christiansen (sub Lucy Staniforth 63mins), Jordan Nobbs, Toni Duggan, Michelle Hinnigan (sub Danielle Carter 52mins), Demi Stokes. Subs not used: Ashley Baker, Lauren Davey, Gemma Bonner, Lyndsey Cunningham, Shelby Hills, Jessica Holbrook, Abbie Prosser.

Japan Under-20: Erina Yamane, Misaki Kobayashi, Yuka Kado, Natsuki Kishikawa (sub Shiori Kinoshita 90mins), Saki Kumagai, Yuria Obara (sub Yuko Takeyama 90mins), Nozomi Fujita, Akane Saito, Megumi Takase, Mana Iwabuchi (sub Nanami Seguchi 89mins), Emi Nakajima. Subs not used: Michi Goto, Yuika Sugasawa, Mayu Funada, Sawako Yasumoto, Ayano Dozono, Shoko Yamada, Ayaka Saitoh.

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