Football: Japan on track to retain Women's World Cup with progress to q-finals

The Japan team celebrates after beating The Netherlands 2-1 in the round of 16.
The Japan team celebrates after beating The Netherlands 2-1 in the round of 16. PHOTO: AFP

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Japan completed the quarter-final line-up for the Women's World Cup on Tuesday when the defending champions rolled into the last eight with an impressive 2-1 win over the Netherlands.

The only team in the tournament to have won every game, Japan dominated the Dutch debutantes with their speed and skill. They move on to Edmonton and a Saturday meeting with Australia, who booked their last-eight spot with an upset of Brazil.

An early strike from Saori Ariyoshi and a 78th-minute missile from Mizuho Sakaguchi accounted for Japan's scoring. Kirsten van de Ven provided some late drama when her tame injury-time header somehow found its way past a static Ayumi Kaihori.

For the Dutch, the loss was double disappointment, ending their stay in Canada and a chance to qualify directly for the Rio Olympics soccer tournament.