EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Mana Iwabuchi scored during a scramble in front in the 87th minute and defending champion Japan beat Australia 1–0 on Saturday in the Women's World Cup quarterfinals.
The goal came after Japan spent much of the second half generating a majority of the pressure in the Australian end. Aya Miyama's corner kick from the left corner was blocked in the penalty area, but the ball bounced directly to Azusa Iwashimizu, who got off a hard shot at the net.
The shot was blocked by goalkeeper Lydia Williams, and the ball squirted to left, where Iwabuchi kicked it into the open side. Iwabuchi had fresh legs after subbing in at the 72nd minute in place of Shinobu Ohno.
Japan will face England in the semifinals in Edmonton on Wednesday.
The fourth-ranked Nadeshiko have won eight straight tournament games, dating to the 2011 World Cup in Germany. That's when they won the title by beating the United States in penalty kicks.
The Matildas go home after making their deepest run in tournament history. The 10th-ranked team won its first elimination game by upsetting seventh-ranked Brazil in the round of 16.
Japan was coming off a 2–1 victory over the Netherlands on Tuesday.
The Matildas did a better job than Japan's previous tournament opponents in bottling up the middle and pressuring the ball carrier to disrupt the Nadeshiko's crisp, short-passing style.
But the Japanese attack finally wore down Australia in the second half.
In the 77th minute, Saori Ariyoshi broke free up the middle only to have her shot blocked by Elise Kellond-Knight.
Japan has gone 4-0-1 in its past five meetings against its Asian regional rival, and is 8-1-1 in its past 10 games.
Japan had the best scoring opportunity of the first half. It happened in the 22nd minute off an Australian turnover.
Nahomi Kawasumi burst free up the right wing and threaded a perfect pass into the penalty area, where Ohno punched the ball just over the open right side of the goal.
Some four minutes later, the Australians responded off a great run by Samantha Kerr, who was bowled over by defender Azusa Iwashimizu, who was issued a yellow card. That set up a free kick from 25 yards out. Alanna Kennedy took the kick, but curled her shot well wide of the right post.
Mitaldas' goalkeeper Williams made a leaping stop to deflect Miyama's hard shot just over the top of the net in the 33rd minute. And Williams got help on the ensuing corner kick, when Australian defender blocked Iwashimizu's shot from just inside the 6-yard box.
Japan coach Norio Sasaki stuck with Ayumi Kaihori in goal despite her allowing both goals the Nadeshiko have allowed in the tournament. And that included a misplayed ball in stoppage time that allowed the Netherlands to cut Japan's lead to 2-1 in the Round of 16 on Tuesday.
It was the third tournament start for Kaihori, while Miho Fukumoto and Erina Yamane had one start each — both shutouts.