Japan 2 - 1 Scotland: Early strikes help Japan trump Scotland, as it happened

Follow the live score and updates from a Group D match between Japan and Scotland in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019.


Yuika Sugasawa successfully converted a penalty to give Japan a 2 - 0 lead over Scotland in a group match in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019.   -  Getty Images

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019.

I'm Lavanya and I'll be taking you through the games of the night. We begin footballing action for the day at the Roazhon Park in Rennes. Remember the last time we were here and the heavens broke loose? Hopefully we're not looking at any such interruptions today. Its 20 degrees out there and there is some cloud cover but we're going to keep our fingers crossed.

For the match centre and statistics, click here.



Follow the action LIVE:

Disappointing day for the Scots but 2011 champion Japan will leave happy today. As for you and me, we have two other games to get to. So grab your refreshments and meet us back right here in an hour for the second game of the evening. Jamaica takes on Italy in an hour. See you there.

Scotland is the first UEFA country to lose against a non-UEFA side at this World Cup. The UEFA sides had a perfect record of 7-0 against the other continents before this match. (Courtesy: Gracenote Live)

Mana Iwabuchi is the player of the game.

Clelland scored a late one for Scotland, giving the fans a little hope but it was not enough in the end. Brilliant show and a job done early in the first half. Japan walks away with 3 hard-earned points.

Japanese players are standing in line now to thank their supporters. What a gesture!

Oddly feels like this match got over in a jiffy. My attention has been on Japan all through. The team has dominated and how. Scotland did not bring its best game onto the field today and I am sure the girls know that.



90'+2' GREAT SAVE BY ALEXANDER! When the ball is squared to Sugita on the edge of the box, she opens up her body before hitting the strike on goal. Alexander had come off her line, but she stretched out a hand to reach it and push it out of play.

88' CLELLAND PULLS ONE BACK FOR SCOTLAND! A very poor pass from Ichise is played straight to Clelland who is in a lot of space just outside the box. She has time to take a touch before she finds the back of the net with a brilliant long-range strike that gives the keeper no chance. 2-1!

The sight of the sun at Roazhon Park is making me really happy. The sporting world has not had the best of weather. Take a ferry to the east and you reach England which is the epitome of gloom, weatherwise. England is seeing some very poor weather, right around the time the world's best teams have congregated for the ICC Cricket World Cup. Four matches have been washed out there thanks to rain, a record in the tournament's history. Heavyweights India and Pakistan face off this weekend at Manchester and it's got fans and pundits worried. The weather report is lookling positive though. Read more about this here.

83' GOOD SAVE BY YAMASHITA! Cuthbert does really well to keep the ball in the middle of the field again and she plays in Evan on the edge of the box. She has time to take a touch before firing her shot on goal and the goalkeeper gets down really well to make the save and push it wide.

81' Japan is finally able to break out of its own half now after a good spell of pressure from Scotland. Japan works it upfield to Sameshima, but her cross into the box is poor and Scotland has possession back once again.

79' The Scotland manager and the fans are asking for a penalty after Cuthbert went to ground under pressure from Kumagai. There wasn't a lot in it though and the referee waves the claims away.

Emslie is still slaving for those chances. Japan is not letting Scotland reinvent and the Scots too are being creative with their gameplan. They have earned a corner now though. What will come of it?

78' CUTHBERT HITS THE POST. Did you hear that sound? What a metaphor for Scotland's run today. Frustration is the mood of the day for the northerners.

Kerr pulls out Ross.  Clelland takes her place. Thank goodness. Jane Ross needs some rest after the frustration of the first half. 

72' Scotland is getting forward more than before, but instead of putting crosses into the box, the team's passing the ball around the edge of it which is making it easier for Japan to win it back.

Nadeshiko refers to the unadorned natural beauty of a Japanese woman. Impressive.

I went off on a tangent about names yesterday and I have one more for me.  Nadeshiko - that's what the Japanese women are called. I am quickly going to run a Google Translate request on this now. Japanese names have a beauty to them. Let's find out what this one represents.

Japan meanwhile is chasing that third goal. Relentless.

Emslie is trying as much as she can here. The former Manchester City player has the hopes of fans on her shoulders and it shows. She needs some more support from the field. Jane Ross was this helpless in the first half. Scotland is having to strive here for a chance.

The pay gap debate has come up time and again and has been a theme of this World Cup if I may say so. We have had strong statements made by players and some even choosing to skip the tournament. Brazilian captain Marta chipped in, in her own way. Her celebrations after scoring yesterday will tell you how. Read all about it here.

Emslie is no stranger to these match situations. She saved Scotland when it was trailing against England and the thought in every fan and team member wearing the Scottish silks would be of an encore of the retaliation against England here today.

Emslie is out now. Scotland brings her on. The side is desperate for a goal.

58' GREAT SAVE BY ALEXANDER! Scotland was left open in that last attack and Nakajima uses that to her advantage. She cuts back inside when she gets to the edge of the box before curling her shot towards the far post and Alexander gets down well to punch the ball behind.

We had a hint of controversy even last night. Australia managed to beat Brazil thanks to Monica's own goal, a decision that has seen some raised eyebrows.


53' It looks easy for Japan at the minute as it works the ball upfield from the back once again. Japan gets it through to Sugasawa, but she'd just drifted into an offside position and the linesman's flag goes up.

The fuss surrounding the US Soccer team refuses to die down. It's 13-0 win over Thailand has been interpreted and reinterpreted in more ways than one, with the team drawing criticism for its celebratiions in the game. What do you make of it all? Let us know.

Want to know more? Here's some help.

Ada Hegerberg
is very visibly absent in this edition of the FIFA WWC and her absence has drawn solidarity and flak in equal measure. Wondering why she's missing in action? Click here.

This World Cup has been generous with controversy. We spoke about this yesterday and it stands good today. The penalty that gave Sugasawa the opportunity to take Japan up by 2 goals is being debated. Was it a harsh decision? Voices in the Twitterverse seem to think so. What do you think? Let us know. Find us on Twitter at @sportstarweb.

I am surprised by how subdued Erin Cuthbert has been in this game. The energy levels are abysmal. Hopefully the halftime break has managed to fix that. Time and the scoreboard will tell.

No changes for either side yet. Japan sitting pretty with a 2 - 0 lead. The crowd isn't buzzing as much as it was in the last half.

All eyes on Jane Ross now as the second half begins. Can the Scottish midfield create chances and equalise? For now, Japan is in the driver's seat.

Scotland has conceded all the goals it has in this edition of the World Cup in the first half of the game.  Incidentally, they've all been penalties.

That Japanese lead would have been a goal higher if a strike from Sugita had not found the crossbar. The Scots had their hearts in their mouths, so did I.

Japan will be proud of this first half. It has retained possession and been assertive. Scotland has hardly had an opportunity to make inroads into the Japanese defense.

It's been a mad 20-minutes so far. The Japanese have not given Scotland or me any time to rest. Probably a bad time to have a slightly disobedient computer. As a thumb rule, I am not lucky for technology. Imagine if I was asked to man the scoreboard. Oh the horror.


Scotland looks a little out of air already but I don't think I am going to write them off just yet. We have five minutes to go in this half and something tells me this isn't going to be the score line we settle for at halftime.

Japan certainly has the upper hand in this half and it's not just about the two goals already scored. It has dominated possession and looks a lot like the top side we know the side to be.

37' SUGASAWA SCORES THE PENALTY! She confidently steps up the spot and sends the goalkeeper the wrong way as she passes the ball into the back of the net. 2-0 Japan!

36' PENALTY TO JAPAN! A long ball over the top isn't dealt with by Scotland and Sugasawa is making a run into the box to get on the end of it. Corsie sees the run and just drags her back by her shirt. The referee is quickly across and is in no doubt as she points to the spot.

This isn't the only Japanese team playing today. The FIH series final is also happening as we speak. India takes on Japan in the semifinal and my colleagues Manasi Pathak and Samarnath Soory are bringing you the latest updates from the clash. Hop over for an interesting game of hockey.

29' Iwabuchi has scored her second World Cup goal in her 12th appearance and her first start in the competition.

Japan did not manage to open the scoring against Argentina but has come good in the first 23 minutes today. Early goals are a luxury and Asako Takakura will be happy at the end of it all. Can Scotland equalise soon?

23' GREAT GOAL FROM IWABUCHI! She was left in quite a bit of space on the edge of the box when Endo picked her out and after taking a touch, she fires her shot over Alexander and into the back of the net. 1-0 Japan!

Mana Iwabuchi replaces Kumi Yokoyama. Nana Ichise and Jun Endo also come in, replacing Moeka Minami and Yui Hagesawa.

This is an important clash and the coaches know that. Shelley Kerr has brought in Kirsty Smith and Lauder in place of Sophie Howard and Nicola Docherty. Christie Murray is out with an injury and Claire Emslie, who scored against neighbour England is also out of the eleven today. In their place, we have Jane Ross and Lizzie Arnot.

Meanwhile, congratulations are in order. Scotland's Hayley Lauder has earned her 100th cap today. Bravo!

Both teams had a frustrating first match at the tournament and they'll be hoping to put those results behind them today.

Japan was held to an uncharacteristic 0-0 draw against Argentina and struggled to really get going in its opening match. As for Scotland, it lost 2-1 to England in their first ever World Cup game, but it will probably feel that it deserved something from it after a very good second-half performance.

7' NAKAJIMA COMES CLOSE! It's some good build-up from Japan and Endo puts a good ball into the box to pick out Sugasawa. The forward then chips a cross towards the far post where Nakajima is waiting, but her shot rolls just wide of the post.

3' Scotland is keeping the ball well at the minute and Arnot is getting high up the field on the left wing. She's tried to put two crosses into the box but hasn't been able to pick out a team-mate just yet.

0' I am running behind the clock a little here but there's so many facts and milestones to share with you all. But first, KICKOFF.

Hello and welcome to the first match of the day in the FIFA Women's World Cup. The atmosphere is electric here at the Roazhon Park. Loving all the kids in kilts.


Japan (4-4-2): Yamashita; Shimizu, Kumagai, Ichise, Sameshima; Nakajima, Miura, Sugita, Endo; Sugasawa, Iwabuchi.

Scotland (4-4-2): Alexander; Smith, Corsie, Beattie, Lauder; Evans, Little, Weir, Arnot; Cuthbert, Ross.

Referee:  Lidya Tafesse Abebe (Ethiopia)