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Soccer: Nadeshiko Japan lose 1st game under new manager Ikeda

Players of Japan (Blue) and Iceland are pictured after the latter's 2-0 win in a friendly in Almere in the Netherlands on Nov. 25, 2021. (Kyodo)

ALMERE, Netherlands (Kyodo) -- Japan's women lost their first game under new manager Futoshi Ikeda on Thursday, falling 2-0 to Iceland in an international soccer friendly.

    In a game held in the Netherlands, Nadeshiko Japan went behind in the 14th minute when Sveindis Jane Jonsdottir scored on a counter after winning the ball in midfield. Berglind Bjorg Thorvaldsdottir doubled the lead in the 71st minute from a long ball.

    "We were aiming for the win but (the result) was disappointing," said Ikeda, who took over from former manager Asako Takakura after Nadeshiko Japan went out of the Tokyo Olympics in the quarterfinals.

    Ikeda, who led Japan women's under-20 side to the World Cup title in 2018, made wholesale changes to the starting midfield and attack, retaining only West Ham midfielder Yui Hasegawa from the Tokyo Games squad.

    Their defensive deficiencies remained, however, as both of the goals arrived after Iceland broke down the right using their pace and power.

    "We have to raise our levels in getting the ball off them before the ball gets played long or to the opposite side," Ikeda said. "We also have to work on our defensive tenacity after those things happen, and also build our organization."

    Hasegawa and midfield debutant Yui Narumiya led the attack for Japan, 13th in the FIFA rankings, but they failed to unlock 16th-ranked Iceland.

    Japan will face fourth-ranked Netherlands in another friendly on Monday in The Hague.

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