• Kyodo


Homare Sawa, who announced her retirement at the end of the season, will at least have another game before calling it a career after playing the full 90 minutes in INAC Kobe Leonessa’s 2-0 win over AS Saitama in the Empress’ Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.

The 37-year-old former Nadeshiko Japan captain Sawa, the 2011 Women’s World Cup top scorer and MVP, put in a solid display in midfield in front of 3,666 at Ajinomoto Field Nishigaoka in the final competition of her career.

“I want to train and play matches as long as I can (before retirement) and I showed that will today,” said Sawa. “I’ll give my 100 percent from the training and like to win the title with these members of the team.”

Sawa, who appeared in a record six World Cups and scored 83 goals in 205 games for Japan, said she “had the greatest career anyone could ask for” in Thursday’s news conference.

Sawa’s INAC will face Vegalta Sendai Ladies on Wednesday in the semifinals.

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