Ja­pan makes its way to quar­ters

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS -

VAN­COU­VER, Canada — Mizuho Sak­aguchi scored what turned out to be the de­cid­ing goal in the 78th minute on a pretty left- footed shot from the top of the 18yard box, and de­fend­ing Women’s World Cup cham­pion Ja­pan held off a late at­tack to beat the Nether­lands, 2- 1, on Tues­day night and reach the quar­ter­fi­nals.

Ja­pan will face Aus­tralia on Satur­day at Ed­mon­ton.

Kirsten van de Ven scored for the Dutch in ex­tra time when the ball went off goal­keeper Ayumi Kai­hori’s arm. The keeper put her gloves to her face in dis­be­lief.

Sak­aguchi scored shortly af­ter Ja­pan nearly had an own goal. Sherida Spitse took a cor­ner in the 76th and the ball de­flected off Aya Sameshima to­ward her own net when Kai­hori punched it away with her right fist.

Ja­pan’s ini­tial goal came when Saori Ariyoshi found her­self in per­fect po­si­tion af­ter the Nether­lands f lubbed a clear­ing at­tempt and Ariyoshi scored from the top of the box in the 10th minute.

Five of Ja­pan’s six goals have come in the 29th minute or ear­lier, with all six scored by dif­fer­ent play­ers.

Ja­pan and Brazil were the only teams to win all three group- stage games, and the Ja­panese over­pow­ered the young Dutch squad for much of the evening at BC Place by con­trol­ling pos­ses­sion in the mid­field. Even when the Nether­lands threat­ened early, it seemed a step slow.

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