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Sasaki sees future of Nadeshiko Japan in 2-0 win over Nigeria

Sasaki sees future of Nadeshiko Japan in 2-0 win over Nigeria


Defender Saki Ueno made her international debut in the victory, giving Japan yet another potential option as they prepare to defend the FIFA Women's World Cup

Nadeshiko Japan eased into a 2-0 victory over visiting Nigeria on Thursday night, their second such scoreline of the week.

Aya Miyama opened scoring for the reigning world champions at Fukuda Denshi Arena, converting a penalty kick earned by Yuki Ogimi in the 21st minute. The captain would soon after set up the second goal with a free kick headed in by 25-year-old Mizuho Sakuguchi.

But with the 2015 Women's World Cup edging into view, coach Norio Sasaki focused on the efforts of his younger players such as 18-year-old Saki Ueno in her international debut and 19-year-old substitute Mina Tanaka.

"Ueno played very well until the end and showed great ability and decision-making," he said after the match. "You could see that she has a lot of potential.

"Tanaka only had a few minutes of playing time but I liked her drive for the goal. She's played well at the U-19 level and I think she'll continue to improve."

It's likely that Sasaki will field a mix of relative newcomers and veterans for next year's Asian Women's Cup, which serves as a qualifier for the 2015 tournament in Canada.

"We're starting to see a picture emerge but it's still a sketch," the 55-year-old elaborated. "To fill it out we might need to add some new players to the squad, but in the end the best players in the world are the players who have international experience."