Women’s World Cup: Japan has the measure of Spain: the fewest possessions in the history of the World Cups to beat boys and girls | Women’s Soccer World Cup 2023

Tanaka celebrates the fourth goal against Spain.
Tanaka celebrates the fourth goal against Spain.RITCHIE B. TONGO (EFE)

Although Japan boasted in the run-up to the match that they would challenge Spain for the ball – “We are ready for battle”, reflected coach Futoshi Ikeda – the reality has been quite different. “We didn’t expect them to defend us with such a low block,” said Aitana Bonmatí. “It shocked us because we were prepared to try to take it from them, but they waited for us far behind and they almost gave us the ball,” added Irene Paredes. But that did not worry Japan because with little they did a lot, because they were not interested in possession but in chances and goals, exceptional in both areas because they arrived eight times and scored four goals. Very far from the records of Spain, which he kicked 10 times and only two on goal so as not to celebrate so much. It happens, in any case, that Japan has the recipe to surpass Spain.

Women’s World Cup – Group c – working day 3That’s how it went

Since Opta has kept records for women’s World Cups in 2011, Japan’s victory over Spain, with just 23% possession, is the lowest rate with the ball to win a game in the championship. A fact that is also expressed in passes because Spain accumulated 934 (842 good; 90.1% correct) and did not worry the Japanese, who were content with 272 passes (174 good; 64% correct). “We have passed the ball many times, horizontally and with inert attacks”, accepted Vilda.

The same thing happened, even more accentuated, in the last World Cup in Qatar with men’s soccer. Then, Japan defeated Spain with a comeback (1-2), in a duel in which the Japanese only accumulated 18% of possession, the least to achieve a victory in the men’s tournament since data was recorded, in 1966 “In five minutes they have turned it around. From there they have been locked up. We have tried to generate and not lose the game, but it could not be. In the end we couldn’t tie because Japan locked themselves up behind”, reflected the then coach of La Roja, Luis Enrique; “It’s a good thing the team goes into collapse mode every four years, because otherwise I can’t stand it.”

The two Japanese counterattack victories against a touch Spain are the ones with the lowest percentage of possession in history if data from the men’s and women’s World Cups are mixed.

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