Argentina gets first-ever point, ties Japan

Tanya Simon
June 14, 2019

"I think we're able to reflect upon what Argentina is and what it means as a team", the forward said. "However, we weren't good enough to break down Argentina's defense today".

The best of Argentina's chances came when Flor Bonsegundo fired a tame strike straight at goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita before Marianna Larroquette blazed over from 25 yards out.

With the victory, the Reds, ranked fifth in the world, topped Group E standings for the moment with the other two teams, New Zealand and the Netherlands, kicking off against each others in Le Havre on Tuesday. We had to stay back and be very, very organized and then come out with some counter attacks. "It was very satisfying to earn a point". But Argentina did not attempt any.

Banini, short, left-footed and wearing number 10, has inevitably been dubbed the female Lionel Messi, but in build and manner she more closely resembles another left-footed Argentine 10, Diego Maradona. She did, however, show yellow cards to two Japanese players late in the first half for less robust interventions.

Japan dominated possession in the first half but was largely kept at arm's length by Argentina's backline.

"For women's football in Argentina it is great that we are starting to flourish", Argentina coach Carlos Borrello said. It wasn't in our mindset at all. But the players were cautious today.

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"In the second half, they realised they had to be more offensive - so their tempo was faster and they attempted more shots at goal".

The ‎tournament underdogs overcame huge adversity to arrive at the finals, including a two-year period in which they played no games. The ball ran to Yuki Sugasawa who blasted over from close range.

Midfielder Hina Sugita stepped over a cross from wingback Risa Shimizu, allowing the ball to find Hasegawa near the penalty spot, but the 22-year-old playmaker sprayed her shot across goal.

Japan missed another similar chance six minutes later, and these missed chances cost them a win and a couple of invaluable points at the points tally.

Japan captain Saki Kumagai said her team needed to improve in their remaining group games against Scotland and England if they are to reach the knockout stage.

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