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Soccer-Iwabuchi left out of Japan’s Women’s World Cup squad

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(Reuters) – Japan’s Mana Iwabuchi will not have the chance to appear at a fourth straight Women’s World Cup after the veteran forward was a surprise omission from Futoshi Ikeda’s 23-player squad for the 2023 tournament announced on Tuesday.

Iwabuchi was part of the teams that won the World Cup in 2011 and finished runners-up four years later. She also played in the 2019 tournament when Japan exited in the last 16.

The 30-year-old struggled for form in the 2022-23 Women’s Super League campaign and played only five times for Arsenal before spending the second half of the season with rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Captain Saki Kumagai, who scored the winning penalty in the shootout when Japan upset the U.S. 12 years ago, is the only player remaining from the 2011 squad. The 32-year-old defender joined AS Roma from Bayern Munich last week.

Ikeda also called up Manchester City midfielder Yui Hasegawa, Angel City forward Jun Endo, West Ham United duo Honoka Hayashi and Risa Shimizu, and Liverpool’s Fuka Nagano.

Australia and New Zealand will co-host the tournament from July 20 to Aug. 20. Japan begin their campaign in Group C against Zambia on July 22 before taking on Costa Rica and Spain.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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