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FIFA Women’s World Cup: Zambia outclassed by Japan in debut defeat

Zambia’s Copper Queens fell to a 5-0 defeat against Japan on Saturday in their FIFA Women’s World Cup debut as Group C finished up its first round of matches in Hamilton, New Zealand. Hinata Miyazawa scored twice while Mina Tanaka, Jun Endo and Riko Ueki also scored for the Japanese team who controlled play throughout against an overmatched Zambia side. The Shepolopolo will continue their campaign against Spain on July 26.

Zambia goalkeeper Catherine Musonda, filling in for injured regular Hazel Nali, was busy throughout the match but did well in the first half. Musonda made several quality stops and was also saved by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after a Tanaka goal was ruled offsides in the 21st minute. However she was powerless to deny Miyazawa in the 43rd minute when the midfielder fired in from a cross by Aoba Fujino.

The Zambian defense showed signs of fatigue as the match wore on and after VAR denied Japan twice early in the second half, Tanaka doubled the lead by sliding to finish Endo’s cross in the 55th minute. Seven minutes later Tanaka played the role of provider by crossing for Miyazawa to give Japan their third goal.

An excellent team movement from the Japanese led to the fourth goal in the 71st minute when Endo was sent in behind to fire low past Musonda. A brave effort from the Zambian goalkeeper ended with her being sent off in second half stoppage time for a second yellow card after tripping up Japan substitute Riko Ueki in the penalty area. Eunice Sakala saved the first spot kick attempt but a retake was ordered for encroachment by the backup shot stopper and Ueki made no mistake on the second kick.

Highlights from Zambia’s World Cup debut are in the link below.


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