The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 kicks off in full force on Saturday (on FS1 and the FOX Sports app) with the Group C match between Zambia and Japan at FMG Stadium Waikato in New Zealand.
This is the first World Cup participation for Zambia, the lowest ranked team to qualify for the tournament ranked 77th in the world. Japan, meanwhile, is more experienced, having made eight previous appearances and won it all in 2011.
Japan has been on the upswing lately, winning three of their last four matches, including against Olympic champion Canada at the SheBelieves Cup in February.
Follow our live coverage below!
Zambia vs Japan
61′: Attack, Attack!
The two former top scorers for Japan – Mina Tanaka and Hinata Miyazawa were able to get some nice play in Japan’s third goal of the match. Tanaka Just She saved the ball from going out of bounds near the Zambia goal, and produced a brilliant knockdown for Tanaka, who finished the job in front of goal.
Japan’s Hinata Miyazawa scores a goal against Zambia in the 61st minute Women’s World Cup 2023
Watch the Japanese Hinata Miyazawa score a goal against Zambia in the 61st minute in the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
54 ‘: It’s good
After two offside kicks on potential targets, Tanaka finally got her goal, sliding smoothly to deflect a graceful pass from Jun Endo. It was Tanaka’s fifth goal in international play.
Japan’s Mina Tanaka scores a goal against Zambia in the 54th minute Women’s World Cup 2023
Watch Japan’s Mina Tanaka score a goal against Zambia in the 54th minute in the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
48 ‘: Overly aggressive
What could have been another goal for Japan was called off after the VAR decided Tanaka had been offside. It was the third score pulled from the board for the team due to an offside penalty.
42′: Goal! A sweet pass determines the score
Teamwork makes the dream work! Japan played great football throughout the first half, and finally saw their work pay off as Miyazawa struck a solid winner with her fifth international goal.
Japan scores Hinata Miyazawa against Zambia
20′: It wouldn’t count!
Japan were under pressure from the start and, after several early chances, pushed the goal away thanks to a superb shot from Tanaka. However, after being checked by the referees with VAR technology, the goal was disallowed due to an offside call.
Catherine Musonda tested her mettle early on, as Japan unleashed a fearsome bid Just He missed the back of the net, deflecting off the post.
6′: step in, step up
Down the starting goalkeeper, Zambia got a massive boost early on, with reserve keeper Musonda showing poise by thwarting an early shot attempt.
5 ‘: push forward
Japan needs a major tournament from their forwards if they are to reignite the success they enjoyed a decade ago, and Tanaka showed her aggressiveness early on by pressing Zambia’s defence.
before the match
The “World Cup NOW” crew previewed the match live on Twitter before kick-off.
Get into the rhythm
Zambia’s Copper Queens had over 100 responses as they prepared to take to the field for the first time at the World Cup finals. In fact, they have their very own World Cup song available now!
“Train every day with high goals”
Japanese Jun Endo has been playing soccer since she was two years old. She shares some tips for young gamers in this video feature.
Ready to go
These teams have different experience levels, but both are looking to get off to a fast start and find success in this tournament.
Check out the full Women’s World Cup schedule and how to watch every match live here. Find the latest results here.
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