Japan's Mina Tanaka Confident for Second World Cup Match vs. Costa Rica
Japan forward Mina Tanaka expressed confidence that the Nadeshiko team would be less nervous in their second Women's World Cup match against Costa Rica on Wednesday. Despite their impressive 5-0 victory over Zambia in their tournament opener, Tanaka believes they can further improve their performance.
In the first match, Tanaka scored a goal and had two more disallowed by VAR decisions. She commended the team's collective effort in the opener and emphasized their determination to make a strong impression in the tournament, aiming to surpass their last-16 exit from the previous edition.
The 29-year-old player spoke to reporters on Tuesday, expressing her belief that the team could play even better in the upcoming game. While delighted with the previous win, Tanaka aims to contribute more to the team's success and approach the match in a more relaxed manner.
Tanaka acknowledged that the Japan attackers needed to be cautious about straying offside, which led to the disallowed goals and a penalty against Zambia. However, she affirmed the team's commitment to an attacking style of play, which proved successful in their previous match against the African team.
The team plans to be more aggressive and focus on creating scoring opportunities. Their strategy involves quick ball movement through the midfield to propel the ball forward, intending to take shots on goal whenever possible.
Regarding their upcoming opponents, Costa Rica, Coach Futoshi Ikeda expressed uncertainty about their game plan. However, he cautioned the team against complacency, as he believes the Costa Rican side possesses enough quality to capitalize on any lapses in concentration and exploit counter-attacking opportunities.
Overall, the Japanese team is growing more accustomed to the World Cup setting and aims to further elevate their performance in the tournament while remaining vigilant to avoid surprises from their opponents.