Sawa set for World Cup history

Date published: Friday 1st May 2015 3:09

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The 36-year-old, who was named player of the tournament four years ago as Japan won their first ever World Cup, is part of a 23-strong squad selected by head coach Norio Sasaki.

“I was really nervous. It felt so nice when everyone hugged me. I almost cried, to be perfectly honest,” she told reporters on Friday.

“I wanted to put on that blue shirt again, I wanted to fight…again. I want to be involved in as many goals as possible. I’ve got the most experience on the team so I hope I can help the team settle.”

Sawa has made a record 197 international appearances for Japan, scoring 82 goals and has also featured in four Olympic tournaments.

“I’m counting on her to be a pillar of the team, on and off the pitch,” Japan head coach Sasaki said.

“Her qualities are necessary right now. Let me stress that experience is not all she brings. I’m selecting her on her present form and fitness.”

The striker is one of four women who have played at five World Cups and could be joined by Brazilian Formiga, if the midfielder is called up by head coach Vadao for this summer’s tournament in Canada.

Only two men have played in five World Cups, Lothar Matthaus of Germany and Mexico’s Antonio Carbajal.

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