Holders Japan defeated Ghana 5-0 on matchday two of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup at the Prince Mohammed International Stadium in Zarqa.
U-17 Women’s World Cup holders Japan were too much to handle for perennial tournament participants Ghana from the start. Riko Ueki fired the Young Nadeshiko into an early lead on seven minutes taking Japan’s goals tally in the history of the tournament to 80, the most of any nation.
Jun Endo then scored two quickfire goals to spring Japan into a 3-0 lead. Endo’s first strike was particularly impressive as she scored with a well-struck, left-footed effort to find the top opposite corner. Japan never looked like they were going to slow down with wave after wave in attack overwhelming Ghana’s frazzled defensive line.
Five minutes after Endo’s second, it was Saori Takarada’s turn to get on the scoresheet. After superb work on the right wing, Riko Ueki evaded her defenders and made space for herself before looking up and finding Takarada with a perfect cross and Ueki made no mistake with a firm header that sailed past Ghana keeper Barikisu Issahaku.
It wasn’t until the last quarter of an hour in the first half that Ghana were able to catch their breath and prevent Japan from creating any clear goalscoring opportunities. That carried into the second half as Ghana almost held Japan to a goalless 45 minutes until Remina Chiba made it five late on.
In the end, it was a comfortable win for the holders as they claim three points early in Group D play ahead of matches against Paraguay and USA later in the tournament.
Ghana is the only African nation to have reached the semi-finals in the tournament’s history, so coach Evans Adotey and his team will be needing to bounce back from the defeat, starting with their meeting with USA on Tuesday, if they are going to replicate or better that performance.