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Nagano wants revenge as Japan and their captain pursue history together

Japanese coach Naoki Kusunose and Fuka Nagano at the press conference(Photo: Masamichi OSHIMA)
by Masamichi Oshima, AIPS Young Reporter, Japan

AMMAN, October 21, 2016 - Japan's captain faces Korea DPR in today's final of the FIFA U17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016 as the last hurdle to make history for herself and her country.

No nation has won the title twice in a row and Fuka Nagano is the only player remaining from the Japanese squad who won the U17 Women's World Cup in Costa Rica in 2014.

At a press conference on the eve of the final in Amman, Nagano said: "I am really looking forward to the game. I’ve prepared as usual so that I can show my best performance.”

The fact that Japan lost 1-0 to North Korea in the final of AFC U-16 Women’s Championship China 2015 - the qualifying competition for this tournament - makes the last match even more special for her.

Nagano said: "When I found out that we were going to play against Korea DPR in the final, I was very happy. We lost in the Asian championship but our team have improved a lot from that time and I want revenge.”

If Japan win then Nagano herself will make history as the only player 5to have won the title twice in a row.

She said: "If we win the final, we can achieve an incredible result. It is important to win against Korea DPR but also to show what we have been doing in the previous years. I want to show that during the 90 minutes.”

The No10 is the only one of the Japanese squad to have played in the full 450 minutes of their five matches. She has not scored a goal but has demonstrated her remarkable talent in the range of passing in a key role as a central midfielder.

She thought her team’s performance had improved with every game.

Nagano said: "As we won through the tournament, I feel that we are playing more confidently. We are strong in our collective defence and attack in which many players are involved. The final will be tough but we want to play in the Japanese way and make the spectators enjoy and be happy watching the game.”

Coach Naoki Kusunose also expressed confidence in his team’s performance so far, saying: "No matter how the opponents play, I believe that if we show our best, we will gain our best results.

“I wanted to play against Korea DPR in this tournament. We couldn’t win in the Asian championship but I want to know whether our squad has reached their level or not.”

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