• Kyodo


Kumi Yokoyama struck twice in the second half as Nadeshiko Japan defeated Norway 2-0 at the Algarve Cup on Monday.

Yokoyama opened the scoring just before the hour and sealed victory one minute to time for Asako Takakura’s side, which finished runnes-up in Group B with six points from three games. Spain, which drew 0-0 with Iceland, won the group.

Japan nows head to the fifth-place match on Wednesday, when it faces the Netherlands.

Despite following up Friday’s 2-0 win against Iceland with another clean sheet, Takakura, who has been entrusted by the Japan Football Association with rebuilding the former Women’s World Cup champion, was not exactly thrilled with her team’s performance.

“If you ask me whether we moved the ball with the efficiency I would’ve liked to see, I’d have to say no,” said Takakura, who collected her second win as Nadeshiko boss. “There were too many times when we struggled to cope with simple long balls.

“The game didn’t unfold like we wanted it to. We couldn’t make up our minds if and when we wanted to press. Too often, the players up front and in midfield lacked good decision-making.”

Takakura hopes the Dutch will bring out the best in Japan so her team can finish the tournament on a high.

“I think we are making progress, bit by bit,” she said. ” I want to keep the faith in my team and hope it pays off.”

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