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Parchal: Japan boss Norio Sasaki was left with plenty of food for thought after the reigning world and Asian champions let slip a first-half lead to go down 3-1 to France in their final group stage match of the 2015 Algarve Cup on Monday.

Nahomi Kawasumi, scorer of an audacious 35-yard lob in Japan’s 2011 FIFA World Cup semi-final win over Sweden, gave the Nadeshiko the lead with two minutes of the first half-half remaining only for Gaetane Thiney to equalise for France from the penalty spot ten minutes after the interval.

Eugenie Le Sommer, who scored France’s consolation goal in their 2-1 defeat by Japan in the semi-finals of the 2012 London Olympics, put the Europeans in front  before Thiney netted her second and France’s third six minutes from full time.

Japan, who defeated Australia 1-0 in the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup final to win their first senior continental title, are using the 12-team Algarve Cup competition as part of their preparations for the defence of their FIFA Women’s World Cup crown.

Japan have been pooled in Group C alongside Switzerland, Cameroon and Ecuador while fellow East Asians China, who lost  3-0 in their final Algarve Cup group stage match, find themselves in Group A with hosts Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands for company.

Photo: AFP