Nadeshiko Japan Launches Campaign with Rout

The Yomiuru Shimbun
Japan’s Mina Tanaka, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring in second half against Zambia in Hamilton, New Zealand, on Saturday.

HAMILTON, New Zealand — Nadeshiko Japan got off to a good start at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in its quest to regain the world title, as Hinata Miyazawa scored twice in a 5-0 rout of Zambia in their opening match on Saturday.

Midfielder Miyazawa started the scoring in the Group C match at Waikato Stadium, connecting on a cross from the right side in the 43rd minute.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hinata Miyazawa (7) celebrates with Mina Tanaka after scoring Japan’s first goal against Zambia in the first half of their Group C match on Saturday in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Forward Mina Tanaka poked in a rolling cross 10 minutes into the second half to make it 2-0, and Miyazawa added her second goal seven minutes later.

Midfielder Jun Endo put Japan up 4-0 in the 71st minute, and forward Riko Ueki capped the scoring from the penalty spot in added time. Zambia goalie Catherine Musonda, who had committed the foul on Ueki, initially tipped her shot into the bar, but was ruled to have come off her line too soon and Ueki was awarded another chance that she converted.

Nadeshiko Japan, which is aiming to win the World Cup for the first time since winning in Germany in 2011, next faces Costa Rica on Wednesday before closing the group stage against Spain on July 31.

The two top teams in each of the eight groups will advance to the knockout stage.