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Thursday, 8th March 2012
In Japan Sports News, Sports,

Germany beat Japan in Algarve Cup final

The Japan women's football team lost the Algarve Cup Final to Germany, coming up second-best in an epic 4-3 scoreline.

Despite missing Fifa World Player of Year Homare Sawa through illness, Japan almost scored after 17 minutes only for goalkeeper Almuth Schult to pull off a stunning save, the Mainichi Daily reported.

Germany then stunned the world champions with two quick-fire goals in two first-half minutes and looked to be heading for a comfortable victory, before Nahomi Kawasaumi managed to pull one back with ten minutes to go before halftime.

A battling second half could have gone either way and when substitute Asuna Tanaka equalised from inside the area Japan sensed a thrilling comeback, but it was not to be.

With 90 minutes approaching the Germans won a penalty and Okovin tucked it away from 12 yards, only for Yuki Nagasato to capitalise on a howling defensive error to put the sides back on level terms in stoppage time.

Japanese hearts were broken when their tormentor da Mbabi popped up deep into added time to snatch a winner and help her side salvage some pride from the team that ended their World Cup hopes in the quarter finals last year.

With the London 2012 Olympics on the horizon, Japanese coach Norio Sasaki still took a lot of positives from the game.

"We conceded goals in what was a slow start for us," the news provider quoted him as saying.

"But in a good sense we kept shipping away and didn't throw in the towel. Obviously I am sorry that we couldn't get the right result.

"I think we did well but there are things that we need to improve. At this point I think the players are improving and we are preparing well."

In August, Japan is to host the 2012 Fifa U-20 Women's World Cup.

Written by Mark Smith