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Soccer: Japan lose to Australia, finish pointless at Tournament of Nations

Japan defender Saori Ariyoshi (6) works for the ball with Australia forward Kyah Simon (17) during the first half of a Tournament of Nations soccer match on Aug. 2, 2018, in Bridgeview, Illinois. (AP Photo/Annie Rice

BRIDGEVIEW, Illinois (Kyodo) -- The Japanese women's soccer team finished the Tournament of Nations without a point after they were defeated 2-0 by Australia on Thursday.

Japan beat Australia in April's Asian Cup final in Jordan, but this time, Nadeshiko were unable to take control of the match at Toyota Park, conceding two second-half goals.

Two minutes into the second half, Australia defender Alana Kennedy placed a free kick into the lower left corner, beating goalkeeper Chika Hirao, who was making her Japan debut. Sam Kerr doubled the lead in the 81st minute.

Hosts the United States claimed their first title in the tournament, which features four of the world's top women's teams, by beating Brazil 4-1.

World No. 6 Japan opened the tournament with a 4-2 loss against the top-ranked United States before suffering a 2-1 defeat by No. 7 Brazil. Nadeshiko also finished last year's inaugural tournament against the same three teams without a win, although they did draw with Brazil.

"We have to settle for these results if we can't play with tenacity," Japan head coach Asako Takakura said. "We are trying out new things, so we end up with results we are not happy with. We just need to be patient and keep trying."

World No. 8 Australia were runners-up with two wins and a draw, while Brazil finished third with one win and two losses.

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