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Defensive Argentina hold Japan to a draw

14 June 2019

Argentina secured their first point at a Women's World Cup finals after holding Japan in a dour goalless draw at Parc des Princes.

In Paris, Argentina restricted Japan, finalists in the last two World Cups, to three risky chances without creating a clear scoring opportunity of their own as the game ended in the first goalless draw of the competition and only the seventh in the competition's history.

"I'm not going to shy from saying we were up against a superior side, a world power and on the pitch it was a very hard match we had to run loads", Argentina captain and player of the match Estefania Banini said afterwards.

Japan's passing supremacy - which yielded 61 percent of first half possession - remained consistent throughout the opening 45 minutes, but it didn't translate to goalmouth action, as Asako Takakura's side produced only two shots, neither of them on target, before the interval.

Forward Kumi Yokoyama unleashed a long-range shot that Argentina keeper Vanina Correa parried straight to Yuika Sugasawa inside the area, but the Urawa Reds striker fired wide from a tight angle.

Argentina offered little threat but was compact and tough for 2011 champion Japan to break down.

In a group with Japan and England, Argentina looked like one of the biggest long shots to advance and it probably still is, but Argentina played a flawless upset-manufacturing style.

Veteran left-back Aya Sameshima, playing in her third World Cup, said the team had been disjointed in their "must-win" group opener.

"This point for us is really important", Banini said. "It was satisfying to gain a point in this World Cup".

Correa then palmed away a low cross from the right in the last minute and was hugged by her teammates at the final whistle. "We will able to show what Argentina represents as a team", midfielder and captain Estefania Banini said.

The gap between the sides was not so evident, but also because Japan, runner-up in 2015, was lackluster.

The point was not lost on numerous more than 25,000 fans who attended the match at Paris' Parc de Princes.

Defender Kadeisha Buchanan arrived late to meet a corner at the far post and bounced a header past Annette Ngo Ndom in the Cameroon goal.

Defensive Argentina hold Japan to a draw