Soccer

Nadeshiko falls to France in friendly international

Kyodo, AP

Japan lost to France 3-1 on Thursday in a warmup friendly ahead of this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Nadeshiko Japan, currently ranked No. 7 in the world, has won three and lost five of its matches against the No. 4 France, including the latest defeat at Stade de l’Abbe-Deschamps in Auxerre.

Japan equalized with a 24th-minute goal by Rikako Kobayashi after the home team took advantage of a mistake to open the scoring in the third minute. After the equalizer, France reclaimed the lead less than 10 minutes later, and scored once more in the 82nd minute.

Japan head coach Asako Takakura called the match a “complete defeat” and said “there was nothing good” coming from the way her players performed.

“We made mistakes and that ended up wasting the match. We need to share with each other why we weren’t able to do (what we wanted),” she said.

Japan, the 2011 World Cup champions, will take on world No. 2 Germany next Tuesday, less than two months out from the World Cup.

Japan has been drawn in Group D alongside England, Scotland and Argentina for the month-long tournament’s opening stage, which begins on June 7. Japan finished runner-up to the United States at the previous World Cup in 2015.

Meanwhile, in Commerce City, Colorado, Mallory Pugh scored twice in her return to Colorado to cap a three-goal rally, and the U.S. women’s national team held on to beat Australia 5-3 in an exhibition on Thursday.

Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe scored goals early in the second half and Alex Morgan also scored for the Americans.

The U.S. is 3-1-2 in the first six games of the Countdown to the Cup. The Americans have four games left leading up to the Women’s World Cup.

The U.S. team will start defense of its World Cup title against Thailand on June 11 in Reims, France.

Lisa De Vanna, Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord had goals for Australia.

The match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park was a homecoming for Pugh and Lindsey Horan. Horan is from Golden, Colorado and Pugh is from Highlands Ranch.

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