Tournament of Nations Gameday: Japan vs. Australia
Australia looks to build on opening win vs. USWNT
Alanna Kennedy and Australia look to keep the momentum going against Japan in the Tournament of Nations on Sunday. (Photo credit: Brad Smith for
Alanna Kennedy and Australia look to keep the momentum going against Japan in the Tournament of Nations on Sunday. (Photo credit: Brad Smith for

The second match day of Tournament of Nations kicks off at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California with Japan facing off against Australia. Seattle Reign FC midfielder Rumi Utsugi captained Japan to a 1-1 draw against Brazil in their opener on Thursday, while all five NWSL players rostered on the Matildas got minutes in their history-making 1-0 win over the United States.

Houston Dash goalkeeper Lydia Williams was crucial in Thursday’s performance, coming up with three giant saves to preserve the clean sheet and the victory. Orlando Pride defenders Steph Catley and Alanna Kennedy played all 90 minutes on the back line, Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr started up top, and Portland Thorns FC forward Hayley Raso joined her as a substitute in the 53rd minute.

Currently, Australia sits at the top of the table as the only team to win on the first day of Tournament of Nations, and they’ll be looking to earn another big win against Japan to move one step closer to a first-place finish.

How to Watch

Japan vs. Australia will stream live on ESPN3 at 5:15 p.m. ET.

What to Watch For

These two international sides have seen plenty of each other over the years, including some big games over the past three years. Japan defeated Australia 1-0 in the 2014 Women’s AFC Asia Cup Final in 2014, and a year later, knocked them out of the 2015 Women’s World Cup during the quarterfinals after a remarkable run. Again, that score was 1-0, with the dagger coming in the 87th minutes to end the Matildas’ dark horse campaign. 

Then Australia finally turned the tables in 2016, beating Japan at home in Kincho Satadium in Osaka during the AFC Olympic qualifying tournament. Australia won 3-1 in February 2016 to kick off their qualifiers with a huge win, and played a high-pressure game that Japan was unable to match. Ultimately, Japan finished third on the table during qualifiers and missed out on the Olympics, while Australia was bounced in the quarterfinals by another Tournament of Nations participant, Brazil.

That 3-1 win in early 2016 was the last time these two teams faced each other, and in the meantime, Japan has continued on its roster overhaul and youth movement. Head coach Asako Takakura has taken over the reigns from Norio Sasaki. Japan finished sixth overall at the 2017 Algarve Cup. Australia finished in fourth place, but the two teams never faced each other in Portugal.

Social Highlights


Japan Women’s National Team 2017 Tournament of Nations Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Sakiko Ikeda (Urawa Red Diamonds, Japan), Ayaka Saitoh (Vegalta Sendai, Japan), Ayaka Yamashita (Nippon TV Beleza, Japan)

DEFENDERS (7): Nana Ichise (Vegalta Sendai, Japan), Hikaru Kitagawa (Urawa Red Diamonds, Japan), Kaede Nakamura (Albirex Niigata, Japan), Ayumi Oya (Ehime FC, Japan), Riho Sakamoto (AC Nagano Parceiro, Japan), Aya Sameshima (INAC Kobe Leonessa, Japan), Hikari Takagi (Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara, Japan)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Madoka Haji (Iga FC Kunoichi, Japan), Yui Hasegawa (Nippon TV Beleza), Emi Nakajima (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Yu Nakasato (Nippon TV Beleza), Hikaru Naomoto (Urawa Red Diamonds, Japan), Mizuho Sakaguchi (Nippon TV Beleza), Rin Sumida (Nippon TV Beleza), Rumi Utsugi (Seattle Reign)

FORWARDS (5): Yuka Momiki (Nippon TV Beleza), Yuika Sugasawa (Urawa Red Diamonds, Japan), Mina Tanaka (Nippon TV Beleza), Shiho Tomari (AC Nagano Parceiro), Kumi Yokoyama (FFC Frankfurt, Germany)

Australia Women’s National Team 2017 Tournament of Nations Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Mackenzie Arnold (Brisbane Roar, Australia), Lydia Williams (Houston Dash)

DEFENDERS (8): Laura Alleway (Unattached), Ellie Carpenter (Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia), Steph Catley (Orlando Pride), Caitlin Cooper (Illawarra Stingrays, Australia), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride), Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane Roar FC, Australia), Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns), Gema Simon (Avaldsnes, Norway)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Tameka Butt (Klepp I-L, Norway), Alex Chidiac (Adelaide City Women’s, Australia), Katrina Gorry (Vegalta Sendai, Japan), Elise Kellond-Knight (FC Turbine Potsdam, Germany), Chloe Logarzo (Avaldsnes, Norway), Emily van Egmond (VfL Wolfsburg, Germany)

FORWARDS (5): Lisa De Vanna (South Melbourne Women’s, Australia), Caitlin Foord (Vegalta Sendai, Japan), Emily Gielnik (Avaldsnes, Norway), Princess Ibini (Football NSW NTC, Australia), Sam Kerr (Sky Blue FC)


Read our full Tournament of Nations preview, featuring player interviews and more.

NWSL fans can follow all the Tournament of Nations action via the NWSL website and mobile app, as well as using the hashtag #ToN2017 and following the league’s social media on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

To follow Japan vs. Ausralia on Twitter, use the #JPNvAUS hashtag.

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