Japan got their Fifa Women’s World Cup campaign off to a perfect start with a dominant win against debutants Zambia.
Hinata Miyazawa’s two goals were separated by a Mina Tanaka strike before Jun Endo added a fourth.
Zambia goalkeeper Catherine Musonda got a second yellow card for conceding a late penalty in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Her replacement Eunice Sakala saved Riko Ueki’s penalty but was ruled to have come off her line and the Japan striker slotted home the second effort.
Japan move top of Group C, above Spain on goal difference.
Futoshi Ikeda’s side’s late spot-kick means there has been a penalty awarded in all seven games of this year’s tournament so far – but only three have been successfully converted.
Aoba Fujino was the Nadeshiko’s primary threat early on, forcing Musonda into a fingertip save with a close-range effort before firing a 25-yard shot off the woodwork two minutes later.
Zambia were handed the first of several lifelines after 20 minutes when the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) intervened to rule out Mina Tanaki’s goal for offside after the Japan forward had reacted quickly to the Copper Queens’ inability to clear their lines from Endo’s in-swinging free-kick.
Japan finally made their breakthrough just before the break when Miyazawa raced onto Fujino’s delivery across the face of goal and slotted past Musonda with a calm right-footed finish.
VAR took centre stage again in a hectic start to the second half, when Tanaki had her second goal of the game ruled out for offside and Japan had a penalty revoked soon after when Fujino – who was wiped out in the box by Musonda – was judged to be narrowly offside in the build-up.
It was third time lucky for Tanaki, however, as she slid in to reach Endo’s cross and guide it into the Zambia net to double Japan’s lead in the 55th minute.
Miyazawa then got her second shortly after with an easy tap-in and Endo added a fourth in the 71st minute.
In the seventh minute of added time, Musonda rushed out and brought down Ueki inside the area, earning herself a second yellow card and presenting Japan with a penalty.
Substitute keeper Sakala, making her international debut, saved the first effort but was deemed to have been off her line by VAR when she tipped the strike onto the bar and Ueki made no mistake with her second attempt to score her side’s fifth.
- 1MusondaBooked at 90mins
- 3MweembaSubstituted forPhiriat 82′minutes
- 14LunguSubstituted forLubandjiat 72′minutes
- 19MapepaSubstituted forChitunduat 72′minutesSubstituted forSakalaat 90+9′minutes
- 13EndoSubstituted forSeikeat 77′minutes
- 15FujinoSubstituted forNaomotoat 77′minutes
- 7MiyazawaSubstituted forChibaat 90+3′minutes
- 11TanakaSubstituted forUekiat 66′minutes
Match ends, Zambia Women 0, Japan 5.
Second Half ends, Zambia Women 0, Japan 5.
Goal! Zambia Women 0, Japan 5. Riko Ueki (Japan) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
VAR Decision: Penalty Japan.
Substitution, Zambia Women. Eunice Sakala replaces Avell Chitundu.
Second yellow card to Catherine Musonda (Zambia Women) for a bad foul.
Penalty Japan. Riko Ueki draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Catherine Musonda (Zambia Women) after a foul in the penalty area.
Attempt missed. Remina Chiba (Japan) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Hikaru Naomoto with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Japan. Conceded by Martha Tembo.
Attempt blocked. Remina Chiba (Japan) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Hikaru Naomoto.
Attempt saved. Kiko Seike (Japan) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Yui Hasegawa.
Substitution, Japan. Remina Chiba replaces Hinata Miyazawa.
Offside, Japan. Yui Hasegawa tries a through ball, but Kiko Seike is caught offside.
Riko Ueki (Japan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Martha Tembo (Zambia Women).
Offside, Japan. Rion Ishikawa tries a through ball, but Hikaru Naomoto is caught offside.
Corner, Zambia Women. Conceded by Kiko Seike.
Substitution, Zambia Women. Vast Phiri replaces Lushomo Mweemba because of an injury.
Offside, Japan. Moeka Minami tries a through ball, but Riko Ueki is caught offside.