Japan vs Costa Rica
Wednesday August 11th;
The morning after Keiko and Suzuka made up with Jade, Keiko was now in the office of Jade's mother for the one-day modeling job. Taeko had come along as well just to supervise her player.
"Mmmmm-hmmm. Hmmmm-hmmmm-hmmmm." Jade's mother went as she observed Keiko's figure, after having Keiko strip down to her underwear in a private dressing room
"W-what?" Keiko asked, feeling a little embarrassed
"Niza! [Nice!]" said Jade's mother
"Alta! Una construir delgado, pero musculoso! Una figura sexy! El busto de tamaño perfecto! Y ella es Japonés para arrancar! Usted dijo ella tenía quince, ¿verdad? [Tall! A slim, yet muscular build! A sexy figure! A perfectly sized bust! And she's Japanese to boot! You said she was fifteen, right?]" said Jade's mom
"Sí-huh. Pero, ¿usted hablar en Inglés, Keiko no sabe lo que está diciendo. [Yeah-huh. But would you speak in English, Keiko doesn't know what you're saying.]" said Jade
"Oh, sorry dear." Jade's mom said to Keiko "Whenever I get excited, I revert to my native language."
"N-no problem, Rodríguez-san." said Keiko
"Please, call me Aurora."
"Isn't that a Norwegian name?" Taeko, who was sitting in a corner, asked
"It's Spanish too." said Aurora "Thank you so much for agreeing to this, Keiko. If we didn't find a replacement model we'd have been in serious trouble. I must say... those pictures of you I found on the net were pretty good, but you're even better in person."
"Thanks, I guess." said Keiko
"El el primer equipo! [On to the first outfit!]" said Aurora
Keiko put on over twenty different outfits for the next three hours, some swimsuits; some casual, all from the latest fashion, striking many different poses as instructed. It was a little difficult to get by as everyone was constantly talking in Spanish. Finally, after three hours, it was over.
"Done at last!" Keiko sighed in the dressing room when it was over, after getting her own clothes back on
"What?" Jade asked handing her a water bottle
"I said, Done at last." said Keiko
"Good work today." said Aurora, handing Keiko an envelope
"What's this?" Keiko asked
"Payment, for the trouble."
Keiko looked inside. In it was 500 USD and about 50 Balboas. "You know this currency is useless back home."
"You can convert the USD to Yen easily. I don't know about the Balboas." said Taeko "The USD there would equal almost ¥50,000."
"What?! This is too much, I can't accept this!" said Keiko
"Keiko, you really helped us out of a jam we wouldn't have been able to get out of." said Aurora "That there is how much I, as your one-day employer, view your work to be worth."
"Just take it Keiko. She's not gonna let you refuse." said Jade
Keiko looked at everyone before speaking again "(sigh) Alright. But keep the Balboas. We can't convert those back home."
The four of them walked to the building's entrance.
"I've got training for the Panama vs Costa Rica game tomorrow, so I gotta head off now." said Jade
"No te esfuerces, cariño. [Don't strain yourself, hon.]" Aurora called after Jade before turning to Keiko and Taeko "Give me your postal address and I'll mail you a copy of the magazine."
"Okey-dokey." said Keiko
After Keiko and Taeko gave her their addresses, they both went back to the hotel. Keiko went straight to her room, where Suzuka was waiting for her.
"How was the shoot?" Suzuka asked as the door closed behind Keiko
"Too many Spanish speakers." said Keiko as she collapsed on the bed "Jade's mom was nice though."
After watching the Panama vs Costa Rica game the next day, which Panama won 1-0, Keiko, Suzuka, and the team trained and psyched themselves up to face Costa Rica themselves on Friday August 13th. Now it was finally the day of the game.
"Finally game time!" said Meiko enthusiastically as they walked onto the pitch "After that embarrassing match against Panama, we can redeem ourselves."
"I won't lose like that again." said Keiko in a serious manner
"Loosen up, will ya." said Suzuka
"Y aquí estamos de nuevo, el último partido de la semana, Japón vs Costa Rica! [And here we are again, the last match of the week; Japan vs Costa Rica!]" said the announcer as both teams took their places "Y tenemos algo de información para usted hoy también. Hay dos jugadores a mirar para hoy. En primer lugar, el equipo de Japón, es el delantero sin par de la japonesa de Kanagawa Prefecture, Keiko Aizawa. [And we have some info for you today as well. There are two players to watch for today. First, on Japan's team, is the peerless striker of Japan's Kanagawa Prefecture, Keiko Aizawa.]"
"What did he say?!" Keiko called at Suzuka, who was on the bench
"He said you were 'Kanagawa's peerless striker'." Suzuka called back
"That's an exaggeration." said Kotoko
"Y segundo, el capitán de la selección de Costa Rica, uno de los máximos goleadores de la Primera División de Costa Rica, Mia Morán! [And second; the captain of Costa Rica's team, one of the top scorers in the Primera División de Costa Rica, Mia Morán!]" the announcer continued
The player named Mia, who was wearing number 10, blew a few kisses two the crowd when her name was called.
"What a showoff." said Meiko
"I'll say." Keiko responded
"Los capitanes lo están haciendo lanzamiento de la moneda. Árbitro pita patada de salida de Costa Rica! [The captains are doing the coin toss. It's Costa Rica's kickoff!]" said the annoucer
Mia and her teammate kicked off. Mia passed Keiko and Meiko with the ball quickly, but it didn't take long for Keiko and Meiko to get in front of her again.
"He oído rumores acerca de usted. Quiero ver si son ciertas. [I've heard rumors about you. I want to see if they're true.]" Mia said to Keiko
"I don't know Spanish!" Keiko replied "In any case... you won't best me so easily!"
Keiko snatched the ball away and tore down Costa Rica's side of the field with Meiko and Kotoko alongside her.
"No deje que ella recorrido libre! [Don't let her run free!]" Mia called back to her team, but didn't follow Keiko
"Is it me, or is she the only 'attacker' on her team?" Keiko thought as she passed three Costa Rican players with ease before passing to Meiko. Mia still hadn't returned to Costa Rica's side of the field, while everyone else was defending.
Since Mia seemed to have no interest in defending, Keiko and her team scored thrice within ten minutes, while Costa Rica only scored once. At 1-3 in Japan's favor, they were about to kick off again.
"I know they lost to Panama yesterday, but this seems almost too easy." said Meiko as they prepared to kickoff again
"I wish you wouldn't say that." Keiko replied as they kicked off
Meiko was right about it being too easy. Costa Rica was now showing it's true colors, and Mia had started defending. By halftime, Costa Rica had scored one goal, but Japan remained in the lead at 2-3.
on the bench;
"I told you not to say it was 'too easy'." said Keiko as they sat down for halftime
"Keiko-chan's right. That's a real bad omen." said Arimi
"I get it. I'm sorry." said Meiko
"They seemed to have changed their strategy." said Taeko
"I don't think so." Suzuka interjected "From here it looked more like Morán was just staying in the back to learn our moves so she could counter them when the time came."
"In other words, that was their strategy from the start." said Rin
"That means we're the ones who need to change strategy if we're gonna keep things in our favor." sad Nanami
"Agreed." said Taeko "So here are our subs for the second half. First, Suzuka goes in for Kotoko...."
On the field;
With their subs made, the second half started. This time, Keiko and the team made use of some new formations they've been working on. After making it into the Penalty Area after receiving a pass from Suzuka, Keiko found herself running toward the goal with Mia right in front of her.
"Yo sé cómo te mueves ahora! No se puede conseguir por mí! [I know how you move now! You can't get by me!]" Mia exclaimed. But Keiko, unfazed, slipped by her using the Phi Trick, leaving Mia confused "El balón ha desaparecido! [The ball disappeared!]"
Keiko took advantage of the confusion of the players who had witnessed that feint, and scored again easily. Fifteen minutes into the second half, and it was now 2-4 for Japan
"¿Qué era esa finta! [What was that feint?!]" one of Costa Rica's Defenders asked Mia
"Ella es que Keiko Aizawa! [She's that Keiko Aizawa!]" Mia realized as Keiko headed headed back to the center circle to kick off again
"Que famosos japoneses masculinos Delantero, conocido como 'Caballero de Japón', Kakeru Aizawa. Ella es su hija. [That famous male Japanese Forward, known as 'Japan's Knight', Kakeru Aizawa. She's his daughter.]" said Mia
"¿En serio?! [For real?!]"
Keiko and Suzuka kicked off again. In combination between Keiko, Suzuka, and Meiko, they slipped by the Costa Rican team within moments. This was also due to the fact that they were still confused by Keiko last play, but finally got their wind back as Keiko prepared to score. The three of them had anticipated this, so Keiko instead feinted and stepped aside, allowing Suzuka to score her first international goal past the confused Keeper instead. Ten minutes remaining, and it was now 2-5 for Japan.
"How do you like us now?!" Keiko and Suzuka asked the players in sync while holding up peace signs. The Costa Ricans didn't bother replying.
"Ten minutes left, let's go onto defense and hold on to this lead." said Meiko as Costa Rica prepared to kick off
"Where's the fun in that?" Keiko replied
"You seem to be enjoying yourself this time around." said Suzuka
"I guess I remembered something I forgot." said Keiko
In the remaining ten minutes, Japan added another goal. This time using the Witch Turn to get by Mia, since the Phi Trick wouldn't work again. This time, Meiko scored assisted by Keiko and the final score was 2-6 for Japan at the final whistle.
PEEP PEEP PEEEEEEEEEEEEP
The game was over, and Japan won this time.
"Qué una partida espectacular! [What a spectacular game!]" the announcer exclaimed "Japón nos mostró tales maravillosas técnicas, tácticas y trabajo en equipo, derrotando a Costa Rica 2-6! [Japan showed us such wonderful techniques, tactics and teamwork, defeating Costa Rica 2-6!]"
"Hey, Aizawa!" Mia said to Keiko
"You can speak English after all?" Keiko replied as Mia held out her hand
"I thought I had you figured out, but you caught me off guard. Good game. I had fun."
"Me as well." Keiko replied shaking Mia's hand
Meiko shook Mia's hand as well before they left the field
"You guys were amazing!" said Jade, who burst into the locker room while they were changing
"Don't just barge in here." said Suzuka, as she slipped on her regular shirt
"Nevertheless, you guys were maravilloso. Even we didn't manage to get a score margin that big."
"Maybe we're just that good." said Nanami
"Don't get cocky." said Meiko as she applied deodorant to her sweaty body
"Oh, by the way, Keiko." said Jade
"Hai?" Keiko inquired as she finished redressing
"I met this person when I arrived. It seems she wants to talk with you."
Right then a blonde woman in her thirties walked in the room. She appeared to be of German origin and Keiko wasn't sure how to respond.
"Do I know you?" Keiko asked
"Didn't the 'Little Witch' tell you about me?" the woman asked "She and I used play against each other in the past. I hear she's finally come out of retirement and rejoined your team as well."
"Cut the small talk, Meier." said Taeko
"Meier? Mina Meier?! The same Mina Meier that played for SF Frankfurt?!" said Keiko "Their former ace, nicknamed the 'Dancing Dove of the Field'?!"
"The one and only." said Mina "I've been wanting to meet you since you made your debut."
"I remember now. My mom did tell me about you." said Keiko "She even showed me a picture. But you look so much... uh...."
"Older. But that's what happens with time, and the picture she showed you was taken over eighteen years ago. It's only natural you wouldn't recognize me at a glance."
"I guess you and Keiko-chan's mom have some history." said Rin
"We played a bunch of friendly matches and at the Algarve Cup, but I was most looking forward to facing her at the 2015 Women's World Cup. Regrettably we weren't in the group stage together, and had we not lost the Semifinals to America, we would've faced each other at the Final." said Mina "Although I was a little disappointed with the result. A 5-2 defeat is hard to take."
"4th place is hard to take as well." said Taeko
"Halt den Mund! [Shut up!]" Mina told Taeko, stung by that remark "Speaking of Nana, I was astounded by your plays today. I saw Nana in you. She and your father taught you well. Although you don't look much like your mother."
"So I've been told." said Keiko, as a few people laughed
"I don't play soccer myself much anymore," said Mina when the laughs died down "but I'll be watching your career with great interest."
"As will I." said Jade
"I'll do my best. So watch as my team and I stand on top of the world at the next World Cup, and the 2036 Summer Olympics in Casablanca."
"I'll be looking forward to it." said Mina
With a fun and fulfilling match done, and greetings from an old friend from Nana's past, Keiko, Suzuka and the team prepared for the return home to Japan the next day.