Jun Endo grew to become 19 a couple of days in the past and is headed to her first Girls’s Global Cup.
The Japan ahead has a whole lot of corporate. 16 others at the 23-player roster also are going for the primary time.
“I feel age does not subject with regards to taking part in ,” Endo mentioned, talking Jap on the group’s coaching camp at the outskirts of Tokyo.
“I do know that I shouldn’t have a lot revel in but, however I feel I am just right at finding out temporarily. As a result of I am more youthful than different avid gamers, I’m going to paintings more difficult. I simply attempt to stay operating.”
Few other folks imagine Japan will win the Global Cup, which opens on June 7 in France. That honor falls to favorites like France, England, Germany and america, with a couple of outsiders like Canada, Spain and Italy beginning to be thought to be.
However watch out for Japan, a group identified at house as “Nadeshiko,” the title of a small flower this is intended to represent the perfect Jap lady.
The rustic gained the Global Cup in 2011 and was once runner-up in 2015 — each occasions towards the American citizens. The trainer this time is Asako Takakura, who has taken over from the extremely a success Norio Sasaki.
Takakura went to the Global Cup two times as a participant and is the primary lady in fee, a reality she does no longer appear to live on.
However some see it as a step forward in a rustic that has few girls in company board rooms or within the most sensible ranks of presidency. It additionally comes as avid gamers are pushing FIFA, the governing frame of football, to improve the profile of the ladies’s sport.
Norway famous person Ada Hegerberg is skipping the match to make the purpose.
“Many of us regularly inquire from me about this,” Takakura mentioned, talking thru an interpreter. “I imagine that I simply want to give my avid gamers the whole thing I’ve in an effort to win suits and convey out the opportunity of my avid gamers.
“In fact, I’ve a big duty on my shoulders to get effects. However I am not on my own.”
Japan has performed most of the contenders in fresh months, drawing with Germany and the American citizens, and dropping to England and France. It has certified for each Global Cup and, like america, may well be the primary group to achieve the general 3 directly occasions.
The Jap are tough to wreck down and depend on pace and maintaining the ball at the floor.
The squad faces Spain in a pleasant on June 2 after which has staff suits with Argentina, Scotland and England. Japan and England are the favorites to advance to the knockout degree.
“We have now much less bodily measurement than different groups,” Takakura mentioned. “However we now have higher method and a capability to make the precise choice throughout video games. So I need to successfully use those strengths. We’re going to feel free if we will be able to display a distinct taste of to the sector. And we’re going to be exceedingly glad if we will be able to get just right effects.”
In spite of its dependence on early life, the group is anchored by way of the massively skilled Rumi Utsugi, who performs for the Seattle Reign, and Saki Kumagai of Olympique Lyonnais, the dominant membership in girls’s football.
Utsugi can be taking part in in her fourth Global Cup, and Kumagai her 3rd.
Takakura may be development for the 2023 Global Cup , a match Japan and Australia are thought to be contenders to host. A joint bid from North and South Korea may be conceivable.
“It is a very younger group, so I will’t say we now have sufficient revel in,” Takakura mentioned.
“I do not be disturbed an excessive amount of in regards to the loss of revel in. I need to imagine as an alternative in younger avid gamers’ fearless early life energy. If the avid gamers imagine of their tactics and talent to hyperlink passes, they can marvel the sector.”
Extra AP football: https://apnews.com/apf-Football and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities
Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP