PREVIEW: Last chance for Ferns and Japan before Olympic squads are named

Expect a few changes to the Football Ferns starting line-up for their second game against Japan in the early hours of Tuesday (NZT).

New Zealand’s interim head coach Michael Mayne says a couple of injuries and a potential concussion would likely contribute to changes after the team lost the series opener 2-0 on Saturday.

Though he didn’t put names to the injuries, forward Indiah-Paige Riley left the field after picking up a first half injury and defender Katie Bowen appeared dazed after a collision late in the first match.

In his pre-game media briefing, Mayne said he was also looking for clarity about individual performances ahead of the selection of the Paris Olympics squad.

Some players who hadn’t started in the first game could get their chance in the second match, he said.

Michael Mayne.

Meanwhile, Japan players say their side will use the short break between games against the Football Ferns to replicate conditions at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

The teams meet in Spain on Tuesday (2am NZT) in the last match for both teams before squads are selected for the Paris tournament.

At the Olympic Games, group games are played two or three days apart, and teams have squads of only 18 players.

Following Japan’s 2-0 against New Zealand on Saturday, several Japanese players publicly commented on how they aim to learn from the short break between the games in Spain.

Liverpool’s Fuka Nagano told the Japan FA website: “There are only two days between the Olympics (group games), so it’s important that we are in good condition for the match.

“It’s important that we focus on the real thing, and take each game seriously, rather than worrying about the opponent. We need to get into the habit of focusing on quality and playing with precision.”

Hikaru Kitagawa, who set up Japan’s second goal against the Ferns, said: “With the Olympics in mind, I would like to prepare well for the next match, including how to recover from consecutive starts.”

West Ham United’s Honoka Hayashi said: “There are only two days until the next match, so I want to make sure that I’m in good condition, and personally, I want to be able to distribute the ball a little better at set pieces.”

Japan head coach Futoshi Ikeda said his team had planned to put pressure on New Zealand’s defence when they were in possession, in the opening game of the two-match series in Spain.

“We had prepared ways to put pressure on the opponent’s defence, but New Zealand’s goalkeeper (Anna Leat) was also involved in the build-up, and they had time to hold the ball.

“However, they were not allowed to get inside, and I think they were able to stay focused in defence. We need to work on converting the few chances we had in the first half, but I would like to give credit to the fact that we scored multiple goals and kept a clean sheet to win.”


Game to be played on Tuesday June 4, 2024 (NZT)

New Zealand v Japan
Estadio Nueva Condomina, Murcia, Spain, 2am (NZT)


New Zealand


Mackenzie Barry (15 caps) Wellington Phoenix FC, New Zealand
CJ Bott (45 caps) Leicester City, England
Katie Bowen (108 caps) Inter Milan, Italy
Claudia Bunge (30 caps) HB Køge, Denmark
Daisy Cleverley (38 caps) HB Køge, Denmark
Milly Clegg (7 caps) Racing Louisville FC, USA
Victoria Esson (23 caps) Rangers FC, Scotland
Michaela Foster (17 caps) Wellington Phoenix FC, New Zealand
Ally Green (13 caps) AGF, Denmark
Jacqui Hand (26 caps) Lewes FC, England
Grace Jale (30 caps) Unattached
Katie Kitching (9 caps) Sunderland AFC, England
Anna Leat (17 caps) Aston Villa FC, England
Meikayla Moore (64 caps) Glasgow City FC, Scotland
Grace Neville (9 caps) London City Lionesses, England
Gabi Rennie (36 caps) Åland United, Finland
Ali Riley (162 caps) Angel City FC, USA
Indiah-Paige Riley (24 caps) PSV Vrouwen, Netherlands
Murphy Sheaff (0 caps) Kansas State University, USA
Malia Steinmetz (30 caps) FC Nordsjælland, Denmark
Rebekah Stott (102 caps) Melbourne City FC, Australia
Kate Taylor (16 caps) Unattached
Hannah Wilkinson (125 caps) Melbourne City FC, Australia

Withdrawn from squad

Macey Fraser (5 caps) Utah Royals, USA (personal reasons)


Acting head coach: Michael Mayne

MATCH REPORT: Football Ferns struggle to create chances as they lose to Japan in Spain >>>>

READ MORE: Ferns’ stand-in coach Michael Mayne: ‘There’s some positives we can take’ >>>>

WATCH: Highlights from the Football Ferns’ 2-0 loss to Japan in Spain >>>>



Ayaka Yamashita (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
Chika Hirao (Albirex Niigata Ladies)
Shu Ohba (University of Mississippi/United States)*

Outfield players

Saki Kumagai (AS Roma/italy)
Mina Tanaka (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
Risa Shimizu (West Ham United/England)
Kiko Seike (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Urawa Reds Ladies)
Miyabi Moriya (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
Yui Hasegawa (Manchester City/England)
Hikaru Kitagawa (INAC Kobe Leonessa)
Honoka Hayashi (West Ham United/England)
Moeka Minami (AS Roma/italy)
Fuka Nagano (Liverpool FC/England)
Remina Chiba (Eintracht Frankfurt/Germany)
Riko Ueki (West Ham United/England)
Hinata Miyazawa (Manchester United/England)
Hana Takahashi (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Urawa Reds Ladies)
Rion Ishikawa (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Urawa Reds Ladies)
Aoba Fujino (Nippon Tv Tokyo Verdy Beleza)
Maika Hamano (Chelsea/England)
Momoko Tanikawa (FC Rosengard/Sweden)
Toko Koga (Feyenoord /Netherlands)


Head coach: Futoshi Ikeda (JFA National Coaching Staff)
Assistant coach: Tomomi Miyamoto (JFA National Coaching Staff)
Assistant coach: Kensuke Teraguchi (JFA National Coaching Staff)
Goalkeeper coach: Toshiro Nishiiri (JFA National Coaching Staff)
Physical coach: Keisuke Otsuka (JFA National Coaching Staff)
Technical staff: Kei Mihara (JFA Technical House)

Olympic fixtures

Games to be played on Friday July 26, 2024 (NZT)

Canada v New Zealand
Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne, 3am (NZT)

France v Colombia
Stade de Lyon, Décines-Charpieu, 7am (NZT)

Games to be played on Monday July 29, 2024 (NZT)

New Zealand v Colombia
Stade de Lyon, Décines-Charpieu, 3am (NZT)

France v Canada
Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne, 7am (NZT)

Games to be played on Thursday August 1, 2024 (NZT)

New Zealand v France
Stade de Lyon, Décines-Charpieu, 7am (NZT)

Colombia v Canada
Stade de Nice, Nice, 7am (NZT)

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