Kirin Cup won by Japan's Iron Ladies

Thursday, 12 April 2012
By David Gold

142462283April 12 - World champions Japan (pictured in blue) laid down a marker for the London 2012 women's football tournament with a 4-1 win over Brazil (pictured in yellow) to lift the Kirin Cup in Kobe.

The Kirin Cup is a three team tournament which also includes the United States, the reigning Olympic champions.

Brazil captain Daiane headed into her own net early on to give Japan the lead in their clash, before Francielle curled in an equaliser from an excellent free kick.

Yuko Nagasato put Japan back in front in the second period, Aya Miyama made it three and then Yurika Sugasawa struck with a clinical finish in the last minute to seal the win.

Sugasawa's strike also gave Japan the title on goals scored, as the US had also beaten Brazil by the same three goal margin, with a 3-0 victory.

Japan and the US had drawn their opening game 1-1 in a repeat of last year's World Cup final in Germany, which also finished 1-1 after normal time, eventually going to penalties.

2Japan Brazil_Kirin_Cup_Kobe_April_12
This week the women's line up for London 2012 was confirmed when New Zealand beat Papua New Guinea in the Oceania qualifiers.

North Korea, Britain, South Africa, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Sweden and France will also be in London this summer.

Japan and the US appear too close to split as tournament favourites, with both sending strong messages after their performances at the Kirin Cup.

Brazil will also be in the running, while a dark horse for glory could be the French team, who include a number of players from Olympique Lyonnais, who won the European Champions League last year.

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