Teddy bear takes place of Japan’s injured Ando

The Equalizer Staff June 24, 2015 11
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Japan midfielder Kozue Ando broke her left ankle in the team’s opening match of the 2015 Women’s World Cup, ending her tournament after just 32 minutes.

In her place on the Japan bench now sits a white teddy bear wearing Ando’s No. 7 jersey, her teammates’ way of keeping the 32-year-old with them even though Ando is back in Japan now.

“In the locker room I talked with Ms. Ando using the phone line and she was able to hear me, and I was able to hear her voice, and the white teddy bear is a substitute for her,” midfielder Mizuho Sakaguchi told the Associated Press. “We don’t have any problem, we have her.”

Sakaguchi scored the game-winning goal on Tuesday to lift defending World Cup champions Japan past the Netherlands and into the quarterfinals. The bear sporting Ando’s jersey was there on the bench to watch the entire match, a brilliant technical display from Japan.

“Injured Kozue Ando’s heart and spirits are at the bench with teammates,” defender Aya Sameshima posted on Facebook.

Japan will play Australia in thee quarterfinals on Saturday. Ando’s spirit will be there in Edmonton, Alberta, by way of the bear.

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

  • Ben

    Remember step over on top of the box for the second Japanese goals yesterday?That would never happen with the US team because players are chasing personal glory instead of working to setup their teammates.

    – It’s not about the USWNT team winning the WC, it’s about Abby winning the WC.
    – No accountability. Regardless of how bad some players perform, they always get to start despite having a stacked bench.
    – Coach sugarcoating everything and is handling players with kiddy gloves.

    • Ethan

      I am not necessarily disagreeing with your whole comment. However, even though it was a while ago, Alex Morgan pulled off a dummy to set up Christen Press for the last goal in a 4-0 friendly against Australia.

      • ARED

        Yes, I think certain US players are able/willing to play that way. Just not the ones leading the team, so the others either follow suit or are isolated in their attempts to play combinations and a 100% team-first style.

  • Miami66

    Ugh I love them. I’m still going for USA (obviously). If Japan don’t win, I kinda hope they win gold in Rio.

  • Steglitz49

    Brilliant!

  • eleventeenseconds

    such a charming and talented group
    they also have awesome signatures. aya sameshima’s autograph. apparently her last name means “shark island”

  • Steglitz49

    The rest of the tournament will not be a picnic — at least is the Matildas play as well as the can.

  • Steglitz49

    When that bear scores the winning goal, we have confirmation that the cup is rigged.

  • Stephen

    I hope the part about talking on the phone is just a rather literral translation from Japanese to English.

    • Steglitz49

      Lost in translation?

  • Steglitz49

    At least the bear is wearing something, even if it is a jersey a few numbers too big!