#115 // Iwabuchi → Hasegawa Japan 1 – 1 Netherlands

The best assist so far, in this Women’s World Cup.

Beautiful, from Mana Iwabuchi.

 

 

 

 

A Pirlo-esque dummy, turn, look up and through ball for the assist.

Here’s another look at it:

 

 

 

It’s the Round of 16, Japan down a goal to the Netherlands just before half-time.

And they work this clever, deft passing sequence from the midfield, out to the wing, then back into the middle, just outside the penalty boxand then to Iwabuchi, calling for the ball, with a center-back stepping up to make a tackle.

The ball coming her way, she gives that dummy. Through the legs, into that little window of space…

And then the brilliant tap onward, for Yui Hasegawa and the finish.

 

Tie game. 1-1, going into the half.

 

 

 

 

They went on to lose, 2-1 in the end, to this Netherlands team that’ll go on into the quarterfinals.

But she may just be the best playmaker in the tournament. Passer, at least. Or architect. 

 

 

 

When you’ve got a video on Youtube with 250,000+ views called “The Female Messi”, you’re doing something right.

 

 

 

 

So—it won’t be the year, for Japan, as it was in 2011.

In a game many people thought should’ve gone another way.

 

 

 

But there were hugs, when it was all over, from the other side…

In respect for this fantastic team.

 

 

 

 

And a deep, deep reverence for one Mana Iwabuchi.

From anyone who watched.

 

Making the single best assist of the tournament.