A promising start for Japan quickly turned into a Sam Kerr showcase to kick off Match Day 2 of the 2017 Tournament of Nations as Australia beat Japan, 4-2, to put itself in prime position to win the tournament. Kerr, who has been on fire in the NWSL, notched a hat trick in the first half as Australia scored four consecutive goals before Japan pulled a goal back late.
After three goals were scored in the first 180 minutes of tournament play, three goals were scored in the first sixteen minutes of Sunday's first fixture.
While Japan opened the scoring through Mina Tanaka in the 6th minute, the Matildas and their star forward took control soon after. In the 11th minute, Hayley Raso raced down the right wing before hitting Kerr in stride with a beautiful ball across the box and she tapped it in to tie the game.
A few minutes later, Kerr stole the ball from Japan defender Riho Sakamoto and sprinted at goal before bending a perfect shot past goalkeeper Sakiko Ikeda into the right corner to give Australia the lead. The Sky Blue FC star's third score was her most impressive. She out-jumped Nana Ichise and Sakamoto in the air to create a breakaway for herself out-ran two defenders towards goal. Kerr smacked her one-on-one chance off of Ikeda but with the Japanese goalkeeper on the ground, pounced on the rebound and slotted her shot into the open net to complete the hat trick.
The Aussie onslaught continued in the second half as Kerr and the Australians continued to create scoring opportunities. After several chances earlier in the game, Emily van Egmond converted a penalty shot in the 62nd minute for the Matildas' final score.
The Nadeshiko got its first goal off a short corner and Kumi Yokoyama launched the ball across the box, finding Nana Ichise for a flicked-on header and Mina Tanaka for a final deflection into the net with her chest. Japan bookended the scoring in injury time with a late goal as Tanaka's back-heel to Momiki instead the box led to a goal with the help of a deflection.