Mana Iwabuchi (#20 Aston Villa) preparing for an interview after the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Banks's Stadium in Walsall, England - Image by Sports Press Photo

Aston Villa forward Iwabuchi named in Japan squad for Paraguay and Panama friendlies

Aston Villa forward Mana Iwabuchi has been named in the Japan squad for the upcoming friendlies against Paraguay and Panama.

The 28-year-old attacker is the nation’s eighth-highest all-time goalscorer with 29 goals in 72 senior outings and she will have the opportunity to increase that tally next month.

The Japanese Football Association, The JFA, announced head coach Asako Takakura’s 25-player squad for next month’s international friendly double-header earlier this morning with Villa forward Iwabuchi making the cut. As usual, Japan-based players dominate the squad with Iwabuchi being one of just four players named who are currently representing clubs within the European game.

Iwabuchi has not pulled on a Japanese jersey since scoring against the United States at last year’s SheBelieves Cup. Her nation’s on-field progress has been halted as a result of the Coronavirus world pandemic. With a home Olympic Games on the horizon, it is important for the Japanese team to get some match practice under their belts in the upcoming fixtures against Paraguay and Panama. The matches will be important for Iwabuchi and her teammates to use to stake their claims for the final 18-player squad for Tokyo 2020.

Japan face Paraguay in Sendai City on Thursday 8 April before taking on Panama in Tokyo on Sunday 11 April.

 

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