Uncertainty Surrounds Nadeshiko Japan’s Olympic Qualifier in North Korea

Uncertainty looms over Japan’s trip to North Korea for women’s football Asian qualifiers heading to Paris Olympics

The anticipation for the women’s final football Asian qualifiers for the Paris Olympics is high, but the fate of Japan’s trip to North Korea is currently up in the air. The Japan Football Association recently announced its 22-player squad for the upcoming matches, but the venue for the first leg against North Korea has not yet been confirmed.

The JFA expressed concerns over various issues, including travel difficulties due to limited flights to Pyongyang, delays in negotiations with North Korea, and a lack of transparency regarding match operations. As a result, the AFC has suggested that the game be played at a neutral venue, with North Korea now tasked with proposing an alternative location for the final decision.

Despite the uncertainty, there is still a possibility that the match will proceed in Pyongyang as planned. The second leg of the tie is scheduled to take place at Tokyo’s National Stadium on February 28, with the winners earning a spot in the Paris Olympics. Australia and Uzbekistan will also be vying for Asia’s other qualifying spot.

Manager Futoshi Ikeda will be without World Cup golden boot winner Hinata Miyazawa, who is currently injured. In her place, Mami Ueno of Sanfrecce Hiroshima Regina has been called up. Ikeda can rely on established Europe-based stars like Saki Kumagai and Moeka Minami from Roma, as well as Yui Hasegawa from Manchester City and Fuka Nagano from Liverpool.

Despite the challenges and uncertainties surrounding the upcoming matches, Ikeda remains focused on the task at hand. “We’ll focus on what we have to do,” he stated.

As fans eagerly await the outcome of these crucial qualifiers, the football world will be watching closely to see if Nadeshiko Japan can secure their place in the Paris Olympics. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting journey.

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