London 2012 Olympics: Japan's football teams looking for Olympic success!

The official draw for the group phases of the men's and women's Olympic football tournament took place at Wembley stadium on 24 April. The event was hosted by former England centre-forward Gary Lineker, while Brazilian football star Ronaldo and popstar Melanie C helped with the draw. Ex-Wales international Robbie Savage, former Scotland forward Kevin Gallacher and England women's striker Kelly Smith were also there to lend their assistance. The results of the draw see the Japanese national women's team - Nadeshiko Japan - face Sweden, Canada and South Africa, whereas the men's team will compete against Spain, Honduras and Morocco.

Nadeshiko Japan arguably have high expectations for the Games after they defeated the U.S. in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final to become the first Asian team to win the FIFA Women's World Cup. The team, whose nickname Nadeshiko (a frilled pink carnation) comes from the phrase "Yamato Nadeshiko" (ideal Japanese woman) are hoping to repeat their sucess. The nickname was chosen after a public competition following the team's qualification for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. However, that year they only managed to reach the quarterfinals of the tournament.

Following the draw for London 2012, Nadeshiko coach Norio Sasaki said:

"We have been drawn in a group where we must battle against top-ranking teams Sweden and Canada, and against a South African team who posses an extraodinarily high level of talent and will no doubt become champions too in the near future. Nadeshiko finished 4th in the Beijing 2008 Olympics, but we are aiming at reaching the top spot in London. We hope all players and staff can come together as one to do our best in reaching our goal at the conclusion of this four year period."

Nadeshiko coach Norio Sasaki and Men's U-23 coach Takashi Sekizuka
(C)Japan Football Association

The men's team also face a tough challenge in their group. U-23 coach Takashi Sekizuka said:

"Finally the groups have been decided! We have been placed with world champions Spain, Morocco, who qualified for the Olympics in second place, and Honduras from Central America, who are a team with real potential. I feel that this is certainly a group which consists of champions from each continent! We hope that our team can come to this tournament fully prepared and that in victory or defeat, our footballers and staff will come together as one in the fight to raise the profile of Japanese football."

Schedule for the group phase of the Olympic football tournament

Japan Women's Team (Nadeshiko Japan)

25 July 17:00 v Canada (Coventry)
28 July 12:00 v Sweden (Coventry)
31 July 14:30 v South Africa (Cardiff)

Japan Men's Team (Samurai Blue)

26 July 12:00 v Spain (Glasgow)

29 July 19:45 v Morocco (Newcastle)
01 August 17:00 v Honduras (Coventry)