Gothia Cup 2018 brought so many people to Gothenburg from around the world that their number almost touched the size of Gothenburg: half a million. Among the 1731 teams that came to play football representing 78 countries, was a girls’ team called Tokyo Verde from Japan. It was the first time that a Japanese girls’ team had participated in the Gothia Cup.
Tokyo Verde reached the finals, and they played against the reigning champion Norcal PDP from Sacramento, CA, USA. The match between the defending champions and the underdogs kicked off on time at the Gamla (Old) Ullevi stadium, and from the start the Japanese girls dominated the game like the Japanese team in the FIFA World Cup in 2018 (Japan scored two goals against Belgium but Belgium chased and won 3-2). But unlike the Japanese team in the world cup, the girls won the match by dominating the game from start to finish.
American Norcal PDP could not defend their championship while Japanese Tokyo Verde displayed determination and won the match by two goals.
Shino Matsuda, the captain of Tokyo Verde, told www.gothenburg-400.com that the team felt surprised and happy to realize that they reached finals. She said, “At the start of the game … I was so nervous for the final but the audience so good and encouraging and giving encouragement. I took some time to settle down and we played well. I am so happy … I cannot explain in words.”
Masahira Furukawa, the coach of Tokyo Verde, told that the team had practised every day with discipline, and that discipline had enabled them to win the G17 Gothia Cup 2018.
For most of the team members it was the first visit to Sweden. How do you feel to come to Gothenburg in Sweden for the first time, and also win the cup? Shino said, “Every body in Sweden is so kind. They are so encouraging … definitely kinder than Japanese.”
The beauty of the Gothia Cup is it brings youngsters from many parts of the world, and gives them a unique opportunity to play, to interact and to understand a culture and a country, and also to play to a world in front of them in Gothenburg.