Soccer / Women's World Cup

Japan captures Women’s Under-20 World Cup

AP

Japan upset Spain 3-1 in the final to win the Women’s Under-20 World Cup for the first time on Friday.

The victory made Japan the first country to hold titles in all three FIFA Women’s World Cup age categories after winning the World Cup in 2011 and the U-17 World Cup in 2014.

On Friday at the Stade de la Rabine, Hinata Miyazawa opened the scoring with a well-struck shot from distance in the 38th minute, and second-half goals by Saori Takarada and Fuka Nagano helped Japan pull away from the Spaniards, whom it had lost 1-0 to in the group stages.

“We didn’t have an U-20 title so I’m glad we were able to win,” said Japan manager Futoshi Ikeda.

“I hope the level of Japanese women’s soccer continues to improve, from junior development to senior level,” he said.

Candela Andujar claimed a consolation goal for Spain in the 71st minute.
Takarada, who scored a total of five goals and made three assists in the competition, won the Silver Ball award and Moeka Minami the Bronze Ball.

Spain, which beat Japan 1-0 in the group stages on Aug. 9, was without suspended Barcelona midfielder Aitana Bonmati after she was sent off in the semifinal victory over host France.

Hinata Miyazawa, Saori Takarada and Fuka Nagano put their side in a commanding position before Candela Andujar claimed a consolation goal for the Spaniards in the 71st minute.

Spain, which beat Japan 1-0 in the group stages on Aug. 9, was without suspended Barcelona midfielder Aitana Bonmati after she was sent off in the semifinal victory over host France.

Earlier on Friday, France lost 4-2 on penalties to England in the third-place decider after their game finished 1-1 following extra time.

France will also host the Women’s World Cup next June.