An indefatigable spirit — and Japan’s bluntness in attack — ensured that the South Americans came away from a Women’s World Cup match with a point for the first time in their history.
Comfortable in possession, Japan dominated midfield but it wasn’t until the second half that Argentina’s defense was truly troubled.
For all of Japan’s neat passes and Estefania Banini’s flashes of brilliance during Argentina’s rare forays into the opposition half, neither side managed a shot on target in the first 45 minutes.
There were cries of “Argentina, Argentina” from pockets of the 25,055 fans in the Parc des Princes, and decibels rose every time the Argentines entered opposition territory, but Argentina — competing in a Women’s World Cup for only the third time — never looked like taking the three points.
A draw, however, was surprise enough.