Japan coach Takakura goes with youth for women's World Cup

TOKYO — Japan head coach Asako Takakura named her World Cup squad, going with a youthful team as the country aims to regain its winning form.

Forwards Jun Endo, 18, and 19-year-old Riko Ueki were among 23 players named on Friday. Veteran forward Mana Iwabuchi was also chosen.

Japan won the World Cup in 2011 and is currently seventh in the world rankings.

Takakura's team has been drawn in a Group D with England, Scotland and Argentina for the tournament's opening stage that begins on June 7 in France. Japan finished runner-up to the United States at the previous World Cup in 2015.

The 51-year-old Takakura was hired as head coach in 2016, replacing Norio Sasaki and becoming the first woman to hold the position.

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Goalkeepers: Sakiko Ikeda, Ayaka Yamashita, Chika Hirao.

Defenders: Aya Sameshima, Rumi Utsugi, Saki Kumagai, Shiori Miyake, Risa Shimizu, Nana Ichisei, Asato Miyagawa, Moeka Minami.

Midfielders: Mizuho Sakaguchi, Emi Nakajima, Yuka Momiki, Yui Hasegawa, Hina Sugita, Narumi Miura.

Forwards: Yuika Sugasawa, Mana Iwabuchi, Kumi Yokoyama, Rikako Kobayashi, Riko Ueki, Jun Endo.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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