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CNMI all in for the Land of the Rising Sun

As the CNMI National Soccer Team is still waking up from the dream Marianas Soccer Cup sweep against rivals Guam last week, these soccer heads turned their attention to the big stage as the FIFA Women’s World Cup is down to the Elite 8.

Who are these soccer fanatics rooting for this year? Well, Team Philippines—which made history as they scored their first ever goal in the Cup, but fell against a mighty Swede team, was a top pick for CNMI soccer fans.

The defending champs—the US of A—the red, white, and blue also made a dramatic and nonsensical exit in the early stages and therefore fell off the top picks. So, what else made sense to choose from?

Japan. Nihon. The Land of the Rising Sun. A huge supporter of the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association since its inception, it made 100% sense for the following fanatics/players of the world’s No. 1 sport to root for Japan this year. It’s not just this bias, or the fact that we are in the same Pacific region that they were the unanimous top pick of these fans this year.

Take a look at their reasons why.

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“Nadeshiko’s will win the finals against the Matilda’s. Japan Women's team is technical and hold an untouchable team chemistry.”

—Sebastien Manabat, Kanoa FC

“Japan will win because since the first game they played in the FIFA Women’s World Cup they look composed, tactical, and always find a new way to score goals so basically versatile. They are already ready when they have a new opponent to win. ​​And in the final it would be Japan vs. France.”

—John Guiller Canape, TSLF admin assistant

“I am rooting for Japan because I love how they play. In addition, Japan has always been supporting the CNMI when it comes to football. The NMI U-23 National Team recently went to Japan for training camp this year and they did a phenomenal job hosting us. I believe Japan and France will be in the finals. France also has a great squad and they have a lot of potential reaching the finals.”

—Brian Lubao, NMC student

“Japan because of their consistent strong showing in the Group Stage and Round of 16. Fourteen goals scored and just 1 conceded. Plus, Japan has given NMI soccer a lot of support through the years.”

—Roselyn Monroyo, TSLF public relations manager

“Was rooting for the Philippines of course but they were eliminated in the first round. I am rooting for Japan but… I believe Australia will win the WC this year. Solid defense plus the home-field advantage. It will be Japan and Australia in the finals.”

—Jersh Angeles, NMIFA coach

“Now that the U.S. women are out of the tournament, I'm rooting for Japan. Japan recently scored a 3-1 victory over Norway and will face a tough Swedish team that just knocked off the Americans. If they can make it through the quarterfinals, I think they have a great chance to win it all. It doesn't hurt that our NMI national coaches have hailed from Japan and the JFA has done a lot for our local program, so I'm going all-in for Nadeshiko Japan!”

—Brad Ruszala, Triple J marketing manager

“Japan for me. They are in Asia and they’ve been playing well as a team. Aggressive when defending and very organized when attacking.”

—Irish Pagarao, NMIFA coach

“I am with ‘Nadeshiko’ because they are able to control the tempo of the game on and off the ball. Japan’s 3-4-3 formation allowed them to control most of the game and they could switch out half the starting lineup without disrupting the team’s flow. Hinata Miyazawa’s runs in the box always overwhelm the opposing team’s back line, as well as Yui Hasegawa’s superb vision from her home in the heart of midfield.”

—Norman Del Rosario, former NMIFA Executive Committee member

“I’m rooting for Japan because I like how they play. They play so simple but so deadly at the same time. Their touches are so crisp and they play as a team.”

—Andrei Kaithlyn Chavez, SIS student-athlete

“Spain-Japan-Australia-England. Hoping Japan vs. Australia in the finals.”

—Ross Zapanta, NMIFA general secretary

Published by Saipan Tribune - Aug 11, 2023


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