1st november

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After playing six times in just 17 days at the end of the domestic season, the Ladies have now gone three weeks without a match.

“I think it’s actually done us a favour,” said Harvey. “We had a good 10 days break, where some of the girls went off and played for their countries.

“Now we’ve had a really good 10 days of preparing for the game which has meant that we haven’t had to rush our preparations, which sometimes happens because we’re limited on time. We’ve been able to prepare properly and not left any stone unturned ready for Thursday.”

Arsenal could be without Jayne Ludlow for Thursday’s first leg but otherwise Harvey has a full squad available.

 Genoa – Fiorentina 

Genoa out: Feronetti (df 2/0), Rossi (mf 1/0), Vargas (mf 2/0), Jankovic (att 7/2), Boriello (att 7/3)

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Malmo FF – Orebro

2 rounds before end Malmo cannot afford loosing points

Truppen

Johan Dahlin, Robin Olsen

Daniel Andersson, Pontus Jansson, Miiko Albornoz, Jasmin Sudic, Ulrich Vinzents, Ricardinho, Filip Helander

Markus Halsti, Wilton Figueiredo, Erik Friberg, Ivo Pekalski, Simon Thern, Jiloan Hamad, Simon Kroon

Daniel Larsson, Tokelo Rantie, Dardan Rexhepi

 

Olympic Games Women » Brazil W – Japan W

Coach of Japan women’s soccer team admits telling players not to win against South Africa

Japan women’s soccer coach Norio Sasaki. (Getty)

Following Tuesday’s Olympic badminton scandal in which eight female doubles players were disqualified for trying to lose matches to rig a preferred place in the tournament, Japan women’s soccer coach Norio Sasaki has admitted that he told his players not to win their final group-stage match against last-place South Africa. But instead of trying to lose, Sasaki, who led Japan to its first Women’s World Cup title last year, merely wanted a draw, which Japan got when the match ended 0-0. This helped ensure that his side would finish second in Group F and remain in Cardiff for its quarterfinal match against Brazil instead of traveling 400 miles to Glasgow, where group winners Sweden will play its quarterfinal against France on Friday.

From the AP:

“It was a different way of playing compared to the usual game, but the players were on the same page as me,” he said.

He said [he] introduced one striker, Yuki Ogimi, late in the match, so “we could take one goal back” if South Africa, one of the weakest teams in the competition, was lucky enough to score.

“I feel sorry we couldn’t show a respectable game, but it’s my responsibility, not the players’, why the game was like that. It was important for us not to move to Glasgow.”

FIFA has already announced that Japan will not be punished for this strategy, stating that “there are no sufficient elements to start disciplinary proceedings” for “unlawfully influencing match results.” Strategically playing for a draw by taking up a more defensive approach (known as “parking the bus”) is a fairly common tactic, but one usually employed by weaker teams that can’t compete with their opponents’ more dangerous attack. It is also one with which all managers do not agree.

Asked if she would ever have her team do as Japan did, U.S. coach Pia Sundhage was clear in her response. From the AP:

“Absolutely not. Never ever crossed my mind,” coach Pia Sundhage said. “Because I think: Respect the game, respect this wonderful tournament and respect the team. … We want to win. If we have that approach to every game, I think we’re in the best mindset.”

If Sasaki’s strategizing pays off or backfires now that Japan must resume actually trying to win will determine whether that criticism quiets down or intensifies. Either way, a knockout match against Brazil is rarely something teams try to arrange.