COLUMBUS, Ohio – Japan suffered its first defeat of the Women’s World Cup in the United States after it was outclassed 3-0 by Germany in Group C on Wednesday.
Japan, a 6-0 winner over Argentina in its opening game on Saturday, was no match for the European champion, which booked its place in the quarterfinals thanks to a pair of goals from Birgit Prinz and another from Sandra Minnert.
Germany is perfect with six points from two games, while Japan dropped to second in the group with three but leads Canada, which beat Argentina 3-0 in the other Group C match, on goal difference.
A draw against the Canadians in its final group-stage match on Saturday will be enough for Japan to advance into the final eight of the tournament.
Japan enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges at Columbus Crew Stadium, although it was the Germans who nearly took the lead against the run of play when Renata Lingor forced a fine save from Japan goalkeeper Nozomi Yamago with a stinging shot after 10 minutes.
But the physical superiority of the Germans soon began to tell, and they took the lead when Minnert fired home in the 23rd minute before Prinz put her side in the driver’s seat.
Japan’s Tomoe Sakai lost possession and allowed Maren Meinert to find the on-rushing Prinz who slotted the ball under Yamago in the 36th minute.
Japan almost halved the deficit shortly before the interval, when Yasuyo Yamagishi deflected a shot from Mio Otani past Germany keeper Silke Rottenberg, but the ball went just over the crossbar.
Germany continued to press after the break and Meinert saw a header come back off the bar before Prinz killed the game with her second goal of the match in the 66th minute.
“I knew we had a huge disadvantage in terms of physical strength, and I thought we could make up the difference with our skill and decision making,” Japan coach Eiji Ueda said after the match.
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