FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup
Trebles for Takarada and Ueki as Japan cruise through
13 Aug 2018
Saori Takarada and Riko Ueki were the hat-trick heroines as Japan qualified for the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup with an impressive 6-0 victory over Paraguay in Vannes.
This resounding win, coupled with USA’s 2-2 draw with Spain, saw the Asian hopefuls comfortably leapfrog the Americans into second spot and set up a last-eight duel with the Group D winners. Japan had been under pressure after a 1-0 defeat to La Rojita in their last outing but showed no signs of nerves as they raced into a four-goal lead before half-time.
The opening goal came in just five minutes when some clever approach play by Jun Endo set up Takarada to score from close range. The lively Japan No11 went on to double her tally 13 minutes later, punishing a poor clearance by Isabel Ortiz by lobbing the stranded Paraguay keeper, this time from a Honoka Hayashi assist.
Riko Ueki then took centre stage for the dominant Japanese, scoring twice within four minutes as half-time approached, first with a simple header and then shooting home to round off a slick passing move.
The goalscorers had both starred in Japan’s run to the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup final two years ago, as did Fuka Nagano, who was named Player of the Tournament in Jordan. And though Nagano missed a golden chance to increase her team’s lead with a 58th-minute penalty that was saved by Ortiz, her team-mates had both completed their hat-tricks within four minutes.
First, Endo set up Ueki for a straightforward finish and then Ueki herself turned provider, playing in the speedy Takarada to race through and complete the rout.