Japan will face Korea DPR in the final of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup after seeing off Spain 3-0 in a thoroughly entertaining match at Amman's King Abdullah II International Stadium. La Rojita provided stiff opposition for the reigning champions, but a double from Hana Takahashi and a second-half own goal from Lucia Rodriguez ultimately gave the Little Nadeshiko a fairly comfortable victory.
The win was Japan's 11th in succession at this tournament, stretching their already-record run, and it came despite Naoki Kusunose surprising everyone with another raft of changes - most notably Riko Ueki, player of the match in three of their four matches prior tonight. The holders, though, seem able to maintain their standards regardless of the personnel in their starting XI, and they were ahead inside 14 minutes.
As is so often the case, Japan struck at the end of a slick team move, one which culminated in Miyu Tomita crossing low for the sliding Hana Takahashi to poke home at the near post. Kusunose's side didn't have it all their own way, though, and they were twice indebted to their keeper as the first half wore on.
First Momoko Tanaka saved from Claudia Pina after the Spain forward had sneaked in on the wrong side of her marker and then, just minutes later, she produced an even better save to deny and tip away Eva Navarro's low, goal-bound let-foot shot. Pina, in truth, should have buried the rebound but shot wastefully over from just eight yards.
Frustration for Spain then turned to desperation just a couple of minutes into the second half when Lucia Rodriguez scored the first own goal of the tournament. Fuka Nagano carved open the Rojita defence with a brilliant through ball for Miyu Tomita and the latter's inviting low cross was diverted into the net by Spain's captain at the back post.
There was no way back for Maria Is' side after that and their fate was sealed with 15 minutes remaining when Japan moved out of sight. This goal came from the penalty spot, with Takahashi - having been held back by Natalia Ramos in the box - stepping up herself to beat Natalia's twin sister, Noelia, with a fierce strike straight down the middle.
Live Your Goals Player of the Match: Hana Takahashi (JPN)