Japan bet Zambia by a comfortable five goals to nil in their opening match of the World Cup
This was Zambia's first appearance at a men’s or women’s world cup, being ranked 77th in the world. They were hoping to make a successful start to this World Cup campaign, however this was not possible.
The Samurai Blue’s came out to a flying start, with their first change coming inside 5 minutes. Aoba Fujino, who created the most chances in the match, managed to create an early flick on for the women leading the line, Mina Tanaka. However, the left-footed half volley was comfortably saved by Zambia goalkeeper, Catherine Musonda, as she managed to parry it wide.
Japan kept pilling on the pressure in the early stages on the game, and it managed to hit the back of the net just after 20 minutes, but the Japan free-kick was ruled offside by VAR. The Japanese finally hit the ground running just on the stroke of half time as Aoba Fujino takes them into the lead. It was a wonderful ball into the box by Hinata Miyazawa, who landed it perfectly to Fujino. From there on, she was able to slot it home on a first-time finish.
A manic start to the second half for Zambia as Japan has a goal disallowed ad a penalty claim overturned all within minutes of each other. But Zambia managed to keep it at 1-0. Zambia done incredibly well to sustain just a one goal deficit however it all became to much for them. With half hour to play, they capitulated and conceded three goals inside 15 minutes.
The game had a nail-biting end when the Zambia goalkeeper, Catherine Musonda, received a second yellow for a careless challenge. Riko Ueki missed the first chance but after a retake was announced, she managed to slot it home for Japan, securing them a 5-0 hammering in their first game of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
Zambia's first performance at a World Cup was no further than disappointing, after taking 0 shots throughout the match. They are going to have to perform much better if they want a chance of making it out the group stage this competition.