Japan stops at Copa America

A 1-1 draw with Ecuador in the last leg of Group C was not enough for Hajime Moriyasu and his teachers to enter the quarterfinals.

* Goal: Nakajima 15 '- Mena 35'.

Any team that wins in this match will go on as one of the two best-performing third teams. In contrast, the draw result makes them disqualified. Along with two points, Japan stood on Ecuador in Group C thanks to a better goal difference (-4 vs. -5), but the Asian team still lost to this index compared to the third team Group B Paraguay ( -first).


Because the nature of the ticket decided to continue, the match started with caution from the two teams. Ecuador demonstrates the superiority of the ball with strong downside shots but Japan is more calm in the middle of the field and holds the ball better. The first chance came to striker Enner Valencia, but he turned the ball into the corner of the box before he hit the bar.

Japan opened the scoring after a shot by Shoya Nakajima for Shinji Okazaki to break the offside trap. Goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez curled the ball into Okazaki's foot but the ball bounced to Nakajima's foot and the midfielder's kick was overtaken by Ecuadorian defenders. The goal shows Nakajima's amazing tactical vision - a player who has performed well at Copa America this year.

However, Japan cannot control the game after having a lead. Their defense struggled with the downward speed of Ecuador on the right. In such a situation, Angel Mena's cross shot gave Valencia a good chance but his close-range shot was too light to defeat goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.

However, 10 minutes before the end of the first half, Ecuador equalized thanks to Mena in a situation where Kawashima brilliantly blocked a volley from Robert Arboleda midfielder but was powerless. The two teams entered the break with a draw.

Ecuador joined in better at the start of the second half but Japan almost regained the lead when Naomichi Ueda's header hit Dominguez's position. As for Ecuador, the most dangerous situation they created was a long-range shot from right-back Pedro Velasco. Japanese players competed in a row and intervened in time with Ecuador's speed attacks, but the Asian team did not have enough to score another goal.

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