Group D minnows Argentina have handed both England and Scotland a huge boost in their hopes of earning qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 last-16 stage with a spirited goalless draw against Japan at the Parc des Princes in Paris this evening.
Carlos Borrello’s side defended for their lives as they limited a well-respected Japanese outfit to very few chances in a somewhat dour contest played in-front of over 25,000 fans.
The first half produced virtually nothing in the way of shots on goal. The only effort came from Japanese midfielder Narumi Miura with her shot from the edge of the box going over the bar.
Argentina defended in their numbers and were resolute as they kept the game goalless going into half-time, a scoreline which will have delighted coach Borrello.
Japan came out brighter for the second half and they should have been ahead when Argentine keeper Vanina Correa pushed a long range Kumi Yokoyama effort into the path of Yuika Sugasawa but the striker lashed her shot high and wide of goal.
Asako Takakura’s side had another good chance moments later when Risa Shimizu cut the ball back across the box but Yui Hasegawa could only scuff her shot wide of the far post.
Argentina had a good chance to stun Japan in the 73rd minute when the ball fell at the feet of Florencia Bonsegundo but she couldn’t keep her footing as she scuffed an effort into the hands of Japanese keeper Ayaka Yamashita.
Hasegawa had a chance to win the match for Japan in the last minute of normal time but her low effort was superbly kept out by the glove of Correa as the game ended goalless.
Japan now take on Scotland in Rennes while Argentina will face England in Le Havre, both of those games being staged on Friday.