USWNT Opponent: Japan’s 2012 Kirin Cup Roster Is Loaded With Defenders

Earlier today, Japan released its roster for the 2012 Women’s Kirin Challenge Cup, which begins April 1st, with Japan taking on the United States Women’s National Team. The 23-player roster is loaded with ten defenders, which is three more than were on Japan’s recent Algarve Cup roster.  From the Algarve Cup roster, head coach Naori Sasaki made five changes, although two are due to medical reasons.

The additional defenders may indicate that Sasaki is unhappy with his defense, which gave up four goals (3 during the run of play, 1 via a PK) versus Germany in the Algarve Cup final.

Three of the four defenders added to the roster have less than five caps. The fourth defender, Kyoko Yano, is a veteran player with 69 caps who has been at the last three Women’s World Cup and the last two Olympics. Though, in the 2011 WWC, Yano did not see any on-field minutes. She has started versus the USA in two Olympic games (2004, 2008) and at the 2011 Algarve Cup. (Yano’s FIFA.com profile.)

Added to the roster is an uncapped midfielder, Yumi Uetsuji, who was on Japan’s U-20 WNT back in 2006, which did not qualify for the 2006 U-20 WWC (FIFA news item).

Player               P.  Caps  Goals       D.O.B.
KAIHORI Ayumi        GK    29    -22   09/04/1986
FUKIMOTO Miho        GK    58    -61   10/02/1983
ARIYOSHI Saori       DF     3      2   11/01/1987
KINGA Yukari         DF    76      4   05/02/1984
KUMAGAI Saki         DF    37      0   10/17/1990
SAMESHIMA Aya        DF    41      2   06/16/1987
TANAKA Asuna         DF    10      3   04/23/1988
UTSUGI Rumi          DF    51      5   12/05/1988
KAWASUMI Nahomi      MF    27      8   09/23/1985
MIYAMA Aya           MF   108     26   01/28/1985
SAKAGUCHI Mizuho     MF    50     16   10/15/1987
ANDO Kozue           FW    99     17   07/09/1982
NAGASATO Yuki        FW    79     34   07/15/1987
OHNO Shinobu         FW   101     37   01/23/1984
SUGASAWA Yuika       FW     8      1   10/05/1990
TAKASE Megumi        FW    23      5   11/10/1990
-------------------------------------------------------------------

ROSTER ADDITIONS (Not on Algarve Cup Roster)
Player               P.  Caps  Goals       D.O.B.  Note
KAWAMURA Yuuri       DF     2      0   05/17/1989
MINAMIYAMA Chiaki    DF     4      2   10/16/1985
OSAFUNE Kana         DF     3      0   10/16/1989
YANO Kyoko           DF    69      1   06/03/1984  2011WWC(not used)
KAMIONOBE Megumi     MF    17      2   03/15/1986  2011WWC(1 minute)
NAKANO Manami        MF    10      2   08/30/1986
UETSUJI Yumi         MF     0      0   11/30/1987

Five players who were in Portugal at the Algarve Cup were not called up. These include Homare Sawa and Azusa Iwashimizu who are both unable to play for medical reasons. Also cut was U-20 forward Mai Kyokawa, who played her first two senior international games while in Portugal.

ROSTER SUBTRACTIONS (Was On Algarve Cup Roster)
Player               P.  Caps  Goals       D.O.B.  Note
IWASHIMIZU Azusa     DF    77      8   10/14/1986  Reason: Injury
ITO Kanako           MF    12      3   07/20/1983
KIRYU Nanase         MF     5      0   10/31/1989
SAWA Homare          MF   177     80   09/06/1978  Reason: Vertigo
KYOKAWA Mai          FW     2      0   12/28/1993

External Links:
JFA news item about the roster (in English)
JFA’s Detailed Roster (in Japanese)
Mainichi.jp English language news story on the roster (source for Iwashimizu injury)

Internal Links:
Recap of Japan’s matches at the 2012 Algarve Cup.
For more on Japan’s match against Germany, check out the recap of Germany’s Algarve Cup matches.
Brazil’s Kirin Cup roster.
For additional details about Brazil’s players, see this detailed playing pool roster.

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