Vannes (France), Aug 25 (IANS) A disciplined Japanese squad prevailed 3-1 over Spain in the final of the women’s Under-20 World Cup.
It was Japan’s first triumph in the competition on Friday, following third-place finishes in 2012 and 2016, reports Efe news.
The Spanish, though disappointed, can be still be proud after delivering their country’s best-ever performance in the women’s U-20 championship.
Spain dominated possession in the first half, but star striker Pati Guijarro squandered a pair of early chances before teammate Maite Oroz forced a save from Japanese goalkeeper Hannah Stambaugh.
Japan’s first opportunity came about 20 minutes in, a strike by Honoka Hayashi that sailed above the cross-bar.
The Asian side opened the scoring in the 38th minute, when Hinata Miyazawa tried her luck from distance and managed to put the ball just over the outstretched hands of Spanish keeper Catalina Coll.
While La Roja continued to have more of the ball in the second half, they remained unable to exploit that advantage, and a poor clearance that left Saori Takarada alone with the ball in front of Coll allowed Japan to double their advantage in the 57th minute.
Eight minutes later, a Takarada pass led to Fuka Nagano’s goal and Spain found themselves trailing 3-0.
Candela Andujar pulled back a goal for Spain in the 71st minute.
Japan withstood the Spanish response and came close to getting a fourth goal in the final minutes.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who watched the game from the stands at Stade Rabine in Vannes along with FIFA president Gianni Infantino, met with the U-20 squad after the match to congratulate them on reaching the final.