Sunday, September 19
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Jul 27, 2021 at 12pm UK
Chile WomenChile Women
Japan WomenJapan Women
FT(HT: 0-0)
Tanaka (77')
Miura (60'), Kumagai (90')

Preview: Chile Women vs. Japan Women - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Chile Women vs. Japan Women - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Olympic Games Women's Football clash between Chile Women and Japan Women, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Aware that a win is essential to keep their medal dreams alive at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, hosts Japan Women face all but eliminated Chile Women on Wednesday.

Following defeat to Great Britain at the weekend, the world's tenth ranked nation seek to secure maximum points at the Miyagi Stadium and hope that either Canada lose, or instead squeeze through as one of the best third-placed teams.

Match preview

With home advantage perhaps negated by the lack of partisan crowds, Japan's tournament has got off to a stuttering start, as they have picked up just a solitary point from their first two games.

Kicking off their campaign for a place on the podium by conceding a Christine Sinclair strike after just six minutes on opening night, Asako Takakura's side had Mana Iwabuchi's late equaliser to thank for a point against Canada.

Then, on Saturday, a 1-0 loss to Great Britain saw them slip three points behind the Canadians in the Group E standings; putting their quarter-final qualification hopes in serious jeopardy.

To the sound of echoes around the cavernous Sapporo Dome, Britain celebrated a 75th-minute Ellen White goal, which proved just reward for the 'away' team's second-half dominance.

Concerningly for head coach Takakura, her side barely threatened the British goal over the course of 90 minutes and the form which saw them rack up a remarkable 19 goals in three warm-up outings seems to have dissipated on the grand stage.

London 2012 silver medalists - just a year after they were crowned world champions - 'Nadeshiko' have not been back to the Games since, so a rapid improvement in the final third is required for Tuesday's make-or-break game, if they are to earn a spot in the latter stages.

With the country's first women's professional league due to be launched in September, the time is surely ripe for an inspirational performance to create a buzz around the beautiful game.

At their first Olympic Games this summer, Chile's resurgent national team have yet to record their first point and sit bottom of Group E having scored just one goal so far.

Jose Letelier's side failed to get to grips with Great Britain's experienced team in their opening fixture - eventually falling to a 2-0 defeat - before Janine Beckie netted twice as Canada beat them 2-1 on Saturday. Beckie also hit the post with an early penalty, but scored either side of the break, before Karen Araya pulled one back to register La Roja's first-ever Olympic goal.

Naturally, with hopes of progress now unlikely in the extreme - Chile would have to beat Japan handsomely and still hope for help from elsewhere - there will be some disappointment in the camp, but even participation marks another high point in the South American nation's meteoric rise.

Five years ago, they dropped entirely out of FIFA's world rankings due to inactivity, and they now sit a respectable 37th after finishing as runners-up in the 2018 Copa America and then qualifying for their first World Cup a year later.

Still the lowest-ranked team in this group, Chile are unlikely to go out with a whimper and may well pose problems for a home side under the severest of pressure amid the glare of publicity and expectation.

Chile Women Olympic Games Women's Football form:
  • L
  • L

Chile Women form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L

Japan Women Olympic Games Women's Football form:
  • D
  • L

Japan Women form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

Team News

Asako Takakura has opted for a 4-4-2 setup in Japan's first two games, with Arsenal's Mana Iwabuchi being dropped from the front pair in favour of Mina Tanaka on Saturday. Both are again in competition to partner Yuika Sugasawa in attack, and the former is perhaps favourite due to her late goal against Canada.

Captain Saki Kumagai, of Bayern Munich, is the squad's most experienced player, with 116 caps, and the 30-year-old centre-back will helm the host nation's defence once more.

Yuzuho Shiokoshi came off early in the second half against Great Britain, so her more offensive replacement, Yuka Momiki, could start out wide given Japan's need for goals.

Chile also need to bolster their attacking threat if they are to break down their opponents, meaning that the established front three of Daniela Zamora - who recently moved to Europe, with Djurgarden - Maria Jose Urrutia and Yanara Aedo could be broken up. If so, Yenny Acuna provides an alternative option.

With 82 caps for her country, Lyon goalkeeper Christiane Endler is Chile's eternal last line of defence, and their inspirational captain may have to work overtime if both sides go all out for the crucial three points.

Chile Women possible starting lineup:
Endler; Saez, Guerrero, Pardo, Lopez; Lara, Araya, Lopez; Aedo, Urrutia, Zamora

Japan Women possible starting lineup:
Ikeda; Kitamura, Kumagai, Minami, Shimizu; Hasegawa, Nakajima, Miura, Shiokoshi; Iwabuchi, Sugasawa

We say: Chile Women 1-2 Japan Women

Though it will not be a straightforward success, Japan pose a more significant threat in the final third and, now that Mana Iwabuchi is off the mark, are better placed to score the goals required to sneak through to the next stage.

Still finding their feet at the elite level, Chile undoubtedly boast a handful of talented players, but a lack of potency means their debut Games is set to end pointless.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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