FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup record
Japan have turned in consistently strong performances at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup over the past decade. They finished third at Papua New Guinea 2016 and on home soil in 2012, providing thrilling performances along the way at both tournaments only to stumble at the semi-final stage. The Young Nadeshiko were also quarter-finalists in 2002 and 2008, and unluckily missed reprising that feat in 2010 despite earning four points. Japan, however, unexpectedly failed to qualify for Canada 2014 in a tournament held just a few months after the nation’s U-17 team were crowned world champions.

The road to France
Japan enjoyed a thoroughly impressive qualification campaign, winning the Asian championship with five wins from as many outings in October 2017. The Young Nadeshiko eased past Australia, Korea Republic and Vietnam to top their group, conceding just one goal in the process. They then demolished China PR 5-0 in the semi-final to secure passage to France, and capped a perfect fortnight with a tight 1-0 victory over Korea DPR in the decider.

The coach
Futoshi Ikeda had much to live up to when he commenced his tenure in the wake of Asako Takakura’s step up to the senior team role following Papua New Guinea 2016. But the former Urawa Red Diamonds defender passed his initial test with flying colours as the Young Nadeshiko played with trademark poise and confidence to win the continental crown in style.

The stat
4
– Japan have won four out of the past five continental championships in the highly competitive Asian confederation.