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:
Mana Iwabuchi has quickly become one of my favorite players to watch. Masterful dummy and weighted ball for the assist today. pic.twitter.com/dPj3vSx4iG
— Asha Michener (@AshaRese) June 25, 2019
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 box—and 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.
Iwabuchi's distribution has been epic this game, every pass is a thing of joy and beauty #wwc2019
— continuous liability (@cheeseplus) June 25, 2019
Brilliant first half performances from both sides. We expected this and they haven't disappointed us. Goal of the tournament contender from Japan , what a pass from Iwabuchi. #bbcfootball
— Sulaimon Adelekan (@Iamsulaimon) June 25, 2019
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.
Mana Iwabuchi is a baller. It's never a secret anyway.
She's so composed with the ball. Every passes she made was in a perfect weight. And her vision is extraordinary.
— Ivan Sitohang (@IvanSitohang) June 25, 2019
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.
I feel so, so sad for Japan. They definitely deserve to win this match. #NEDJPN
— Emilia (@Humbug570) June 25, 2019
But there were hugs, when it was all over, from the other side…
In respect for this fantastic team.
— SI です (@sasasa101720) June 25, 2019
Kumagai is DEVASTATED and Shanice Van de Sanden is comforting her AND crying too…..
— CHERYL🌹🇫🇷 (@destiny_ifoot) June 25, 2019
And a deep, deep reverence for one Mana Iwabuchi.
From anyone who watched.
Making the single best assist of the tournament.