Japan send Kiwis packing
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Japan registered a second big result on the trot in their final Group C game of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010, beating New Zealand 6-0 at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Tobago. The result means that the Japanese go through to the quarter-finals, where they will meet the Republic of Ireland, while the Kiwis head for home with zero points from their three group matches.

The New Zealanders were technically still in with a shout at the start, and they pushed forward with verve in the early going. They put the Asians under heavy pressure from the opening whistle and Olivia Chance was looking a real danger with her confident running and willingness to take on defenders. Japan, though, slowly began to drag themselves back into the contest, which was played in scorching temperatures outside Scarborough. Kumi Yokoyama was very much the go-to girl in the side and she fired a snapshot in the 7th minute that forced a good diving save out of Jess Reddaway, who was tending the goals in place of Chloe-May Geurts who injured her shoulder before the game.

The Japanese continued to fire in shots from distance as they looked short on ideas in attack, a far-cry from the side that put six past Venezuela in their last outing. The ever-lively Yokoyama snapped to the rescue though, and after captain Katie Bowen missed a simple clearance on the right side of defence, the Jumonji High School starlet took full advantage and hammered into the top corner in the 24th minute. Not long after, Mai Kyokawa had a chance right in on the doorstep that was bravely cleared by Reddaway.

It was all Japan at the start of the second period and Yokoyama had them two goals to the good in the 58th minute, cutting inside from the left and jinking past two defenders before unleashing an unstoppable right-footed strike into the top corner of the net. And speaking of unstoppable strikes, Yoko Tanaka made it 3-0 with a thunderous shot from 25 yards just seconds later. The air seemed have gone out of the girls from Oceania. Rebecca Burrows tried a shot from a good distance in the 66th minute, only to be denied by the sprawling Eri Hirao, who made a brilliant save. Mina Tanaka added another one for Japan in the 74th minute, an uncontested strike from the edge of the area that left the keeper with no chance before Yoko Tanaka added a fifth and Yuka Honda a sixth in stoppage time

The Japanese move on to the quarter-finals as the second-best finisher in Group C with six points from their two games. Spain, who eliminated Venezuela in the other section contest in Marabella, finish top of the table with a perfect nine points from their three games.