Japan won the World Cup in 2011 playing a free-flowing style that made it the envy of women's soccer, but it has fallen behind since then, sparking accusations of mismanagement and neglect.

Japan used its slick attacking game to beat the United States in the final 12 years ago and went on to finish runner-up at the 2012 Olympics and 2015 World Cup.

But Japan failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Games and has since struggled to haul itself back among the top contenders in women's soccer.