Japan is looking to make its third straight Women’s World Cup final and win its second title this summer in France. The Nadeshiko have a revitalized team that has welcomed a new generation of players who have the hunger to match that of past legends. Asako Takakura takes over as the first female coach of Japan, and she scored 30 goals for the national team in 79 appearances.
For the tournament’s full schedule, standings and more click.
Here’s the roster, the team’s history at the World Cup and more.
Goalkeepers: Sakiko Ikeda (Urawa Red Diamonds), Ayaka Yamashita (Nippon TV Beleza), Chika Hirao (Albirex Niigata)
Defenders: Rumi Utsugi (Reign FC), Aya Sameshima (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Saki Kumagai (Lyon), Nana Ichise (Vegalta Sendai), Moeka Minami (Urawa Red Diamonds), Asato Miyagawa (Nippon TV Beleza), Risa Shimizu (Nippon TV Beleza), Shiori Miyake (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
Midfielders: Hina Sugita (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Emi Nakajima (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Mizuho Sakaguchi (Mizuho Sakaguchi), Yui Hasegawa (Nippon TV Beleza), Yuka Momiki (Nippon TV Beleza), Narumi Miura (Nippon TV Beleza)
Forwards: Mana Iwabuchi (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Yuika Sugasawa (Urawa Red Diamonds), Rikako Kobayashi (Nippon TV Beleza), Riko Ueki (Nipon TV Beleza), Jun Endo (Nippon TV Beleza), Kumi Yokoyama (AC Nagano Parceiro)
World Cup appearances: Eight
Best finish: Champions (2011)
Last World Cup: 2015 (runner-up)
Monday, June 10
Argentina vs. Japan, Noon ET, FS1
Friday, June 14
Japan vs. Scotland, 9 a.m. ET, FS1
Wednesday, June 19
Japan vs. England, 3 p.m. ET, FS1
What to know
All eyes will be on Kumi Yokoyama, who has been referred to as the “Japanese Maradona” thanks to a crazy 2010 goal against North Korea. That goal was nominated for a Puskas Award, coming in the U-17 World Cup. She is small, mighty and a really good finisher who can make you pay from anywhere on the field. She’s one of the more talented players on the team and will be counted on along with Mana Iwabuchi to make noise.
How to watch
You can watch the entire tournament on fuboTV (Try for free).