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Jul 21, 2021 at 11.30am UK
Japan WomenJapan Women
Canada WomenCanada Women
Iwabuchi (84')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Sinclair (6')
Labbe (53')

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

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

Hosts Japan Women play against Canada Women on Wednesday in their opening game of Group E at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Japan failed to build upon their silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics as they did not qualify for the tournament in Rio 2016, and Canada will be looking to better their consecutive third-place finishes from the previous two Olympic Games.

Match preview

Asako Takakura earned 79 caps for Japan during her playing career and has been manager of the national side since 2016, and this year's tournament will be her first Olympics as head coach.

In 2012, Japan missed out on a gold medal after losing 2-1 to the USA in the final at Wembley, played in front of an 80,203 crowd.

As the host nation, Japan will perhaps be the most disappointed at the fact no fans will be allowed inside the stadiums, amid a resurgence in new coronavirus infections within the country.

Japan played three warm-up fixtures to prepare for this summer's games, two in June and their latest outing came against Australia last week.

Arsenal's Mana Iwabuchi scored the only goal of that game from the penalty spot, as Japan came away with a 1-0 victory heading into their opening game on Wednesday.

Canada's preparation friendlies last month both ended in goalless draws against Czech Republic and Brazil, but more positive results did come in April when the side beat Wales and England.

Striker and captain Christine Sinclair is the most experienced player in the Canadian squad, and the top goalscorer for her country, netting 186 times in 297 appearances for Canada.

In Rio 2016, Canada lost out to eventual gold medalists Germany in the semi-final, but they did secure a bronze medal by beating Brazil 2-1 in the third-placed match.

That followed a third-placed finish in the 2012 Olympics four years earlier, when Canada lost after extra time in the semi-final to the USA, who went on to claim gold.

Head coach Bev Priestman was assistant manager of the Canada Women's squad under John Herdman, but she was promoted to manager in October following a spell with her native England also.

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

Canada Women form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D

Team News

Japan forward Iwabuchi has been labelled as her side's star player for this summer's Olympics, and she has inherited the number 10 shirt, last worn by Japanese legend Homare Sawa, who is the leading goalscorer and appearance maker for Japan Women.

Bayern Munich defender Saki Kumagai has been named as Japan's captain for the Tokyo games, and she has plenty of experience having won the Champions League five times with Lyon.

Takakura played a 4-4-2 formation in their last game against Australia, and of the three goalkeepers in the squad, Ayaka Yamashita was handed the number one spot between the posts.

Chelsea's Jessie Fleming has been around the Canadian senior squad since 2013, and the 23-year-old will be looking to carry on her good form which helped the Blues win the WSL title last season.

Canada have experience in the attacking half of the pitch in Sinclair, but they also possess experience at the back with Lyon's Kadeisha Buchanan and Paris Saint-Germain's Ashley Lawrence, who have 198 caps between them.

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

Canada Women possible starting lineup:
Sheridan; Chapman, Zadorsky, Buchanan, Lawrence; Quinn, Scott, Fleming; Rose, Sinclair, Prince

We say: Japan Women 2-1 Canada Women

Both sides possess realistic hopes of claiming a medal at Tokyo 2020 this summer, with both nations having strong and experienced squads.

Therefore, this opening fixture in Group E is likely to be a tight contest, but Japan have the advantage of home comfort and come into this game with a string of wins behind them.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win 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.Home/Away:data

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