A poor first half of woeful football, in which Japan were less awful than their opponents. The second half was totally different, as both teams did their best to finish it off without the need for extra-time. The Japanese were dominant, putting extra pressure in the final quarter-hour, and at the end succeeding to score the vital goal (87'), but the Lady Socceroos contributed as well, especially at the beginning of that half.
The silent referee
Miss Monzul was excellent. No blemish in the second - suffice the players were terrible, but certainly the referee not so. She finished the game with just 15 calls for an infringement, including two offside calls against Japan in the first ten minutes (correct calls by ar2, Miss Karsic of Croatia who provided excellent assistance to the ref). In the second half there were a couple of arguable decisions by the ref, but these were trifles which shouldn't be mentioned, except for an intentional, somewhat brutal push/grab of a Japanese player's face by an Australian who was keen to get the ball for a throw-in when the clock was ticking away (90'+3'). The ref. feeled satisfied to just have a word with the Australian with no card of any colour being involved. Ar1, Miss Rachynska was the weakest link. Starting the second half slowly, she didn't keep in line with Japan's attack, thus letting a Japanese player in an offside position, to push forward and threaten the Australian goal. As for the goal Japan scored, it was a tough decision to make, whether the goal scorer (Iwabuchi) was or wasn't offside when the ball was delivered to her. The flag stayed down and I accept the decision, though had it been raised, I wouldn't have argued either. That's how close it was.