South Africa football women hold Japan to draw at Olympics

AP, Tuesday 31 Jul 2012

Football women world champion Japan held by a goalless against South Africa

World champion Japan was held to a 0-0 draw by South Africa on Tuesday in Olympic women's soccer, failing to score for the second match in a row. Japan will face Britain or Brazil in the quarterfinals.

Having secured a quarterfinal spot, Japan's coach, Norio Sasaki, began the match with just four regular starters.

Japan's best chance in the first half came 18 minutes in, but captain Kouze Ando sent a header wide.

The team showed more bite after veteran attacking midfielder Nahomi Kawasumi was brought in the second half, but she failed to find the net.

Ando had another chance to score just past the hour mark but missed the target from close range.

Minutes later, Asuna Tanaka headed over the bar from a decent position.

Having beaten the United States last year in Germany to win the World Cup, Japan is now seeking to win its first Olympic medal in three consecutive attempts. But its form in Britain has so far been disappointing. The team beat Canada 2-1 in its opening match, but was held 0-0 by Switzerland in its second match.

South Africa's young side failed to make any clear cut chances. It had already been eliminated from the competition.

The match at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium was played under a roof, the first time that has happened in Olympic football.

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