MUNICH – Women’s world champion Japan was overpowered 4-2 away to Germany in the final exhibition match of its mini tour of Europe on Saturday.
Norio Sasaki’s team, which drew 1-1 away to England on Wednesday, twice came from behind through goals from Shinobu Ono and Yuki Ogimi, but was undone by two goals in the late stages from Celia Okoyino da Mbabi and Simone Laudehr in front of over 45,000 at Allianz Arena.
Japan famously upset Germany en route to an astonishing victory at the 2011 World Cup, but that was Japan’s only win over the Germans to date, as it has drawn one and lost 10 in 12 meetings so far.
“We were second best in terms of ability, condition and technique,” said Sasaki. “We want to move up another rank by the next world tournament.”
Japan, missing injured former Women’s World Player of the Year Homare Sawa, was put on the back foot and fell behind after 17 minutes, with Leonie Maier finishing off a swift counter attack with a stunning strike from the edge of the box.
Ono leveled with a very soft equalizer on 40 minutes, only for Okoyino da Mbabi to restore Germany’s lead from the penalty spot at the start of the first half, following a trip by Asuka Tanaka on Nadine Kessler.
Ogimi brought Japan on level terms again on the hour mark, the German-based striker rattling in after captain Aya Miyama’s free kick had come back off the woodwork.
But Okoyino da Mbabi made it 3-2 with three minutes left with a shot that took a wicked deflection off Saori Ariyoshi, and Laudehr sealed victory from the spot after she had been bundled over by Karina Maruyama in the box.
“We’ll never top big teams unless we improve individually, and that includes the subs,” said Ogimi.
Japan returns home on Monday and prepares for the defense of its East Asian Cup title, which begins in South Korea on July 20.