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Match Reports

Dominant Japan sink Howard and Scotland

Late surge cannot prevent second World Cup defeat

14 June 2019

Sophie Howard and Scotland face an uphill task to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup, having lost out to Japan with a 2-1 defeat on Friday afternoon.

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Having started Scotland's first match against England, Royals defender Howard watched on from the bench as her compatriots faced a Japan side who were dominant in possession from the off.

And the deadlock was broken after a headed clearance fell short and Mana Iwabuchi picked it up on the edge of the box, fizzing a shot into the top corner and putting the Scots on the back foot.

Japan almost doubled their lead shortly afterwards, getting the ball through into the box, but Kim Little came to Scotland's rescue as she cleared off the line.

The deficit was doubled after the half-hour mark, however, when Yuika Sugasawa was brought down by Rachel Corsie in the box. It looked a soft decision, but the referee pointed straight to the spot.

Sugasawa picked herself up to take the penalty, and confidently dispatched past Lee Alexander to give Japan a 2-0 lead at the break.

With Scotland in need of a strong attack in the second half, Reading defender Howard watched on as her national side tried to play their way back into the game.

There was a late flurry from Shelley Kerr's side as they tried to level terms in the World Cup group match, but a superb 20-yard strike from substitute, Lana Clelland only proved to be a consolation for Scotland.

Howard and the Scotland squad will now need all three points in their final group match against Argentina (Wednesday 19th June, 8pm), to stand a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.

Meanwhile, Jade Moore and England are in group action against Argentina on Friday night, being shown live on BBC One from 7.30pm.

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