In the newly created three-nation tournament – named the Women’s Kirin Challenge Cup – the Nadeshiko will play the United States on April 1 at Yurtec Stadium in Sendai and meet Brazil on April 5 at Homes Stadium in Kobe.
The U.S. and Brazil will face each other on April 3 at Fukuda Denshi Arena in Chiba.
“This is something we wanted to have,” said Nadeshiko Japan coach Norio Sasaki, whose side won the Women’s World Cup in July when they beat the United States on penalties.
“Brazil has a different playing style than the others and we haven’t played them at the world championship, so by playing them I hope we can learn what we can do and what we cannot do. It’ll be also nice if we can give a playing opportunity to those players who haven’t played the U.S. before.”
The Nadeshiko will start 2012 with a training camp in Wakayama in February that will be held in conjunction with the younger national teams. They will then head to Portugal to compete in the Algarve Cup from February 29 to March 7.
“If we can develop the game at the junior end of women’s football, we will be able to raise the standard of our team,” Sasaki pointed out.
In mid-June, Sasaki’s side will make a tour to Europe to play a couple of friendly matches as part of their preparations for the Olympics. The Summer Games are slated for July 25 to August 9 in Great Britain.
“I heard we will play strong teams in Europe on our tour, which will be good preparation for us before heading to the Olympics.”
The Nadeshiko will also have a send-off match on July 11 at the National Stadium in Tokyo. The opponents will be announced later.
“We won the World Cup but we didn’t manage to take the initiative of the game,” Sasaki commented. “The Olympics are another tournament and different from the World Cup. I hope we can prepare well to compete hard at the Olympics and win a medal there.”
Japan finished fourth in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Eiji Ueda, the head of the JFA Women’s Committee, said, “This year our women’s team produced the best result and that came from their strong ties with men’s football, the Nadeshiko League and regional support – in other words, comprehensive support from all of Japanese football.”
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