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USWNT vs. Japan: Match Preview | 2024 SheBelieves Cup Semifinal

4524 wnt p1


USWNT vs. Japan: Match Preview | 2024 SheBelieves Cup Semifinal

Canada was drawn into Group A, where it will face host France, Colombia and New Zealand. Japan and Brazil were both drawn into Group C, along with the winner of the Nigeria-South Africa playoff and Spain.


Aftera worldwide search process led U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Matt Crocker, Emma Hayes was officially announced as the 10th head coach in U.S. Women’s National Team history on November 14, 2023. The long-time head coach for English powerhouse Chelsea FC, Hayes started her coaching career in the United States in the early 2000s and more than two decades later will take the helm of the USWNT. Due to her contact with Chelsea, Hayes will finish the 2023-24 Women’s Super League season in England and then join the U.S. team officially two months prior to the start of the Olympics. U.S. Soccer has put a comprehensive plan and process in place to maximize the productivity in all aspects of moving the USWNT forward leading into the Olympics, a key part of which is interim head coach Twila Kilgore continuing in her role and then joining Hayes’ staff full-time as an assistant coach in late May.

The SheBelieves Cup will be Kilgore’s last matches as interim head coach as Hayes will coach her first two matches in early June will be against the Korea Republic. The USA will take on the Taegeuk Ladies in Commerce City, Colorado on June 1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (3 p.m. MT / 5 p.m. ET on TNT, Universo, Max and Peacock) before moving on to St. Paul, Minnesota for a June 4 match at Allianz Field, which will be presented by Allstate (7 p.m. CT / 8 p.m. ET on truTV, Universo, Max and Peacock). Both matches will take place at the home stadiums of Major League Soccer clubs, the Colorado Rapids and Minnesota United FC, respectively. The USA’s most recent match against Korea Republic was also at Allianz Field, in October of 2021, a 6-0 win for the USA.


Inspired by the U.S. WNT players, SheBelieves is an initiative led by U.S. Soccer to inspire and encourage women and girls. The campaign launched in the run-up to the 2015 Women’s World Cup and has since grown into a powerful message of empowerment and believing in oneself. The SheBelieves Cup represents a showcase event for the campaign, which also features efforts such as the SheBelieves Summit Presented by Deloitte.

The 2024 SheBelieves Summit, presented by Deloitte, will take place on April 27 and 28 at Venue SIX10 in Chicago, Illinois. With the goal of inspiring the next generation, U.S. Soccer and Deloitte will provide college students and young professionals with the opportunity to learn from and network with industry professionals. Participants will hear from a diverse range of women in leadership who are driving progress in sports, business, and entertainment, headlined by two-time Olympic gold medalist gymnast and advocate Aly Raisman.

The theme of the Summit this year is HER Future, which seeks to equip attendees with the skills to confidently define and pave their unique paths forward. In addition to panels, breakout sessions led by Deloitte and other U.S. Soccer partners will focus on professional skills, financial literacy, and mental health and wellbeing. Registration for the event is now open.


  • This will be the USWNT’s 10th match all-time in the state of Georgia and first since September 18, 2016 when the USA defeated the Netherlands 3-1 in a friendly at the Atlanta Dome. The U.S. has won all nine of its previous matches in the Peach state by a combined score of 35-4.
  • The U.S. has won each of its last five matches in SheBelieves Cup play and is unbeaten in its last 18 matches in the competition, with its last SheBelieves Cup defeat coming to France in 2017.
  • Eight players on this roster have more than 50 caps, including four – Alex Morgan (221), Lindsey Horan (144), Crystal Dunn (143) and Alyssa Naeher (102) – with more 100+ international appearances.
  • Seven players on this roster have 10 caps or fewer, including two uncapped players in 21-year-old defender Eva Gaetino and 16-year-old midfielder Lily Yohannes.
  • Yohannes is one of three teenagers on this roster along with 18-year-old Olivia Moultrie and 19-year-old Jaedyn Shaw. Moultrie and Shaw played at the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica along with now 20-year-old Korbin Albert.
  • Fourteen players on this roster were born after the 1996 Summer Olympics, which was the first Olympics to feature women’s soccer and marked the first gold medal won by the USWNT. The 1996 Summer Games were hosted in Atlanta.
  • Morgan is the top scorer on this roster with 123 career international goals, followed by Horan with 33 goals, Mallory Swanson with 32, Dunn with 24 and Sophia Smith with 16.
  • Seven different players have scored so far for the USWNT in 2024 – led by four goals from Shaw, three goals each from Horan, two goals each from Morgan, Moultrie and Jenna Nighswonger and one each from Smith and Lynn Williams.
  • Midge Purce and Rose Lavelle lead the U.S. with two assists each in 2024 while Smith, Horan, Morgan, Trinity Rodman, Emily Fox and Casey Krueger all have one assist.
  • Overall, 12 different players have been directly involved in a goal for the USA in 2024, led by four goal involvements each from Shaw (4 goals) and Horan (3 goals, 1 assist).
  • Naeher leads the USWNT with 480 total minutes played so far in 2024, followed by Horan (473 minutes), Fox (445) and Sam Coffey (436).
  • Seven players – Albert, Coffey, Gaetino, Moultrie, Nighswonger, Shaw and Yohannes – have been named to their first SheBelieves Cup roster while 10 players on this roster were on the USWNT roster for the 2023 SheBelieves Cup. The remaining six players on this roster have previous SheBelieves Cup experience.
  • Naeher and Emily Sonnett have won the SheBelieves Cup six times, the only players in USWNT history to do so.
  • Ten players called up for this camp were on the USA’s roster at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and eight – Dahlkemper, Davidson, Dunn, Horan, Morgan, Naeher, Sonnett and Swanson – were on the roster for the 2019 Women’s World Cup champions.
  • Twelve clubs – including seven different NWSL clubs – are represented on this roster. NWSL champions NJ/NY Gotham FC and San Diego Wave FC lead the way with four players each while Portland Thorns FC have three. Paris Saint-Germain, the Washington Spirit and Chicago Red Stars also have multiple players on this SheBelieves Cup roster.


FIFA World Ranking:7
AFC Ranking:1
Olympic Appearances:6th (1996, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2020, 2024)
Best Olympic Result:Silver Medal (2012)
Record vs. USA:1W-8D-30L (GF: 30, GA: 110)
Last Meeting vs. USA:Feb. 19, 2023 (1-0 win for USA in Nashville, Tenn.)
Head Coach:Futoshi Ikeda (JPN)


GOALKEEPERS (3):Ayaka Yamashita (INAC Lobe Leonessa), Chika Hirao (Albirex Niigata Ladies), Shu Ohba (University of Mississippi, USA)

DEFENDERS (7): Saki Kumagai (AS Roma, ITA), Risa Shimizu (West Ham United FC, ENG), Miyabi Moriya (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Hikaru Kitagawa (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Moeka Minami (AS Roma, ITA), Rion Ishikawa (Urawa Reds Ladies), Toko Koga (Feyenoord Rotterdam, NED)

MIDFIELDERS (5):Yui Hasegawa (Manchester City FC, ENG), Hina Sugita (Portland Thorns FC, USA), Honoka Hayashi (West Ham United FC, ENG), Fuka Nagano (Liverpool FC, ENG), Momoko Tanikawa (FC Rosengård, SWE)             �

FORWARDS (7):Mina Tanaka (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Kiko Seike (Urawa Reds Ladies), Mami Ueno (Sanfrecce Hiroshima Regina), Riko Ueki (West Ham United FC, ENG), Hinata Miyazawa (Manchester City FC, ENG), Aoba Fujino (Tokyo Verdy Neleza), Maika Hamano (Chelsea FC, ENG)  �


  • Japan has 14 players on its roster from last year’s SheBelieves Cup squad. The USA’s has only 10 players on its roster for the 2024 SheBelieves Cup from last year’s SheBelieves Cup roster.
  • Japan’s head coach, Futoshi Ikeda, took over from Asako Takakura, who is one of the pioneers of Japan women’s soccer and was the first female coach of Japan’s senior Women’s National Team who coached the Nadeshiko from 2016–2021.
  • Ikeda, a former professional player for Urawa Reds, is a former head coach of Japan U-20 Women’s National Team. He led Japan to the championship at the 2017 AFC U-19 Championship and qualified for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, which Japan won. He also a former coach for the Japan U-17 Women’s National Team, making him very familiar with Japan’s young talent and their pathway to the senior side.
  • Ikeda has called in a youthful 23-player squad for the 2023 SheBelieves Cup, with just one player – 33-year-old defender Saki Kumagai – over the age of 30. Japan, which seems to always be in the middle of a youth movement based on its success at the youth international level, features twelve players are under the age of 25, including three teenagers in defender Rion Ishikawa, midfielder Aoba Fujino and forward Maika Hamano.
  • Kumagai is by far the most experienced player on this roster with 149 caps and has represented Japan at the last four FIFA Women’s World Cups, including scoring the winning penalty against the USA in the penalty kick shootout during the 2011 FIFA World Cup Final. No other Japanese players has more than 80 caps.
  • Forward Mina Tanaka is the leading scorer on the roster for 34 career international goals. Forward Mami Ueno has 20.
  • Kumagai, who currently plays in Italy for AS Roma, has had a distinguished career in Europe, playing two seasons for Bayern Munich in Germany and eight for Olympique Lyon, who she left after the 2020-21 season following eight seasons with the French powerhouse in which she won five UEFA Women’s Champions League titles and at different times played with Americans Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Morgan Gautrat and Catarina Macario.
  • In a testament to the growth of Japanese women’s soccer, 12 of the 22 players on the roster play professionally outside of Japan with back-up goalkeeper Shu Ohba playing college soccer at the University of Mississippi. She previously played at East Tennessee State. She was the starting goalkeeper for Japan during its meeting with the USA during group play at the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, a 3-1 Japan win.
  • One of those players playing professionally abroad is Hina Sugita of the Portland Thorns, who is the only NWSL player on Japan’s roster. Jun Endo likely would have been included, but suffered a season-ending injury for Angel City FC in preseason.
  • There are six players playing in England – two for top of the table (behind Chelsea on goal difference) Manchester City, one for Chelsea and three who turn out for West Ham.
  • The other nine players on this roster all play their club soccer domestically in Japan’s WE League, which is currently top by the Urawa Reds, who have two players on this roster.
  • Japan qualified for the 2024 Olympics via the 2024 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, a difficult competition that Japan entered in the Second Round. In Group C of the Second Round, Japan won all three games by an 11-0 aggregate, toping Uzbekistan (2-0), Vietnam (2-0) and India (7-0). That earned Japan a spot in the Third Round where it defeated North Korea 2-1 on aggregate to earn its Olympic berth. Japan tied the first leg 0-0 in a match played in Saudi Arabia before winning the returning leg 2-1 on goals from Hana Takahashi and Aoba Fuino in front of 45,787 fans at Japan’s National Stadium in Tokyo.
  • Japan is one of seven nations, along with the USA, Brazil, Germany, Nigeria, Norway and Sweden, to have qualified for every edition of FIFA Women’s World Cup.
  • At the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Japan rolled through the group stage, defeating Zambia, 5-0, Costa Rica, 2-0, and in one of the most amazing games in World Cup history, downed eventual winners Spain, 4-0. Japan had eight shots and scored on 50% of them. Japan beat Norway, 3-1, in the Round of 16, but fell to Sweden, 2-1, in the Quarterfinals.
  • Japan’s best performance at the World Cup came during its title run in 2011, in which it became the first Asian nation to win a Women’s World Cup. Japan returned to the World Cup final again in 2015 but fell to the USA in the final 5-2 behind a hat trick from Carli Lloyd. Japan also finished runner-up to the U.S. at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, with a Lloyd brace in the final once again proving to be the difference.
  • While Japan’s Senior National Team has not reached a world championship final since 2015, its Women’s Youth National Teams – particularly the Under-20s – have had a great run of recent success. Japan won the 2018 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup and finished runner-up at the 2022 FIFA U-20 World Cup contested in Costa Rica.
  • Eighteen-year-old Maika Hamano won the Golden Ball as the top player at the 2022 FIFA U-20 World Cup and also took home the Silver Boot after finishing the tournament with four goals. She was on Japan’s roster for the 2023 SheBelieves Cup.
  • Japan fell to eventual champions Spain 2-1 in the quarterfinal of the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in a thrilling match that saw three goals scored in the final 24 minutes of the game. They were also eliminated in the quarterfinals of the U-17 World Cup in 2018, falling to New Zealand on penalties.�

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