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Soccer: Nadeshiko Japan held to stalemate by 2nd-string Netherlands

Members of Japan's women's soccer team are pictured after battling out a 0-0 draw against the Netherlands in an international friendly in The Hague on Nov. 29, 2021. (Kyodo)

THE HAGUE (Kyodo) -- Japan captain Saki Kumagai was critical of her team's performance Monday following their scoreless draw against the Netherlands in an international friendly.

    Nadeshiko Japan could not capitalize after creating several chances against a virtually second-string Dutch side, putting just one shot on target at ADO Den Haag Stadium.

    The Asian champions are now scoreless in two games under new manager Futoshi Ikeda, following a 2-0 loss to Iceland in his debut on Thursday.

    Kumagai, who did not play against Iceland, said a team with aspirations of returning to the pinnacle of women's soccer needed to be able to beat a Netherlands outfit missing several key players.

    "Failing to win this game was unacceptable," the Bayern Munich star said.

    Arsenal forward Mana Iwabuchi, who came off the bench against the Netherlands, lamented the lack of a breakthrough goal.

    "Our inability to score means we still have lots of room (for improvement). Nothing came off," Iwabuchi said.

    Despite the result, Ikeda praised his side for an improved effort following their disappointment against Iceland.

    "We created chances and it's unfortunate we couldn't convert them to get the win. I'm happy the players were disciplined and fought hard," Ikeda said.

    Japan will begin defending their continental title at the 2022 Women's Asian Cup in India from late January.

    The tournament serves as a qualifying event for the 2023 World Cup to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

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