Can Japan still excel at Women’s World Cup without former Arsenal player Iwabuchi?

Can Japan still excel at Women’s World Cup without former Arsenal player Iwabuchi? by Michelle

Mana Iwabuchi, just like Arsenal’s injured players Vivianne Miedema, Beth Mead and Leah Williamson, can only participate in this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup as fans.

The former Arsenal Women forward must be disappointed after failing to make it into Futoshi Ikeda’s 23-woman squad for the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. And to add insult to injury she has also left Arsenal after the expiry of her contract with the club, which was officially announced on 14th June.

If she had made the Women’s World Cup squad, this would have been her fourth; she was on the Japan team that was crowned world champions in 2011; in 2015, she was on the Japan team that reached the final; and in 2019, she was on the Japan team that reached the round of 16.

The 30-year-old’s failure to find her mojo last season saw her omitted from the national team squad. For Arsenal last season, she only played five times before moving to Spurs on loan in the second half of the season.

Notable WSL inclusions in the Japanese women’s Women’s World Cup squad, announced on Tuesday, include Manchester City midfielder Yui Hasegawa, West Ham United duo Honoka Hayashi and Risa Shimizu, and Liverpool’s Fuka Nagano.

Japan is in Group C of this year’s World Cup. They are in the same group as Spain, Zambia, and Costa Rica. They kick off their World Cup campaign against Zambia on July 22nd. They will then play Costa Rica on July 26th before taking on Spain on July 31st.

The Japanese women’s team has always had a way of proving those who doubt them wrong. Let’s see if, without Mana, they’ll still have their World Cup quality.

Michelle Maxwell
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Tags Mana Iwabuchi

1 Comment

  1. Japan will miss her leadership. Mana Iwaduchi has always been one of those players that rises to the occasion in these major tournaments. Jonas Eidevall had absolutely no idea in how to play her. Her second season at Arsenal she was played out of position. Eidevall’s player management is largely lacking in all departments. It’s a rather strange decision on behalf of FIFA to only allow a squad of 23 for all countries participating in the women’s World Cup. The men’s squads in last years World Cup were bigger. With my experience over the years in being involved in women’s football in these major tournaments, women pick up more injuries than the men. A female’s recovery rate from an injury is longer than a male’s. So I’m at a miss as to why FIFA has made this decision that the women can only have a squad of 23 players

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