Wed, Sep 12, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Last-minute goal secures draw for Japan

AP , SHANGHAI, CHINA

A brilliant free kick by Aya Miyama with five seconds left gave Japan a 2-2 draw with England in the opening game for both in Group A of the women's World Cup yesterday.

The result throws open the fight for one of the two top spots in the group and a chance to advance to the quarter-finals.

It was the second goal scored off a free kick by Miyama in the game and matched two impressive individual goals by England's Kelly Smith.

With England trailing 1-0 with 10 minutes left, Smith beat two defenders at the edge of the box to smash a low, hard shot past Japan goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto.

Two minutes later she rode a tackle inside the box, then knocked in the rebound after Fukumoto saved her first shot.

England, who deserved to win after outplaying Japan for most of the game, went behind early in the second half when Miyama dipped a 25m free kick over the wall into the right corner beyond the reach of Rachel Brown.

Her second goal was from 30m.

England dominated most of the second half and created at least half a dozen clear-cut chances, only to be denied by Fukumoto or unlucky finishing.

With defending champion Germany, who demolished Argentina 11-0 on Monday, in the group, both teams were eager for a win to keep up.

In a double-header on Friday, England will play Germany and Japan will meet Argentina.

In the other Women's World Cup group stage result yesterday, it was:

GROUP B

Nigeria 1, Sweden 1

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