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Sasaki's Japan size up England in Women's World Cup semi

Norio Sasaki’s son-in-law might be English but the Japan coach warned that he would not be swayed by family ties as the champions’ try to return to the Women’s World Cup final.
“My daughter’s husband is English. We have a sort of fight in our family right now,” Sasaki said on the eve of Wednesday’s semi-final clash with England in Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium.
Japan, ranked fourth, are the only team that has won all five games in Canada, with their last World Cup defeat going back to 2011 when they fell 2-0 to England before taking the title. The two countries also played a 2-2 draw in the 2007 tournament.
But Sasaki said that he was confident of winning to earn a berth in the July 5 final at Vancouver because his team were “technically superior” to sixth-ranked England.
“Since I became coach, Japan have never won against England, but I don’t feel like we’re going to lose at this World Cup,” warned Sasaki.
“Our players have a good mentality and the technical skills to score multiple goals. We will definitely go back to Vancouver, I believe that.
"I think the Japanese players are superior.”
England’s Jill Scott, who was on the 2011 team that beat Japan, said that triumph alone was giving her side confidence.
“We were the only team in that tournament to beat Japan and we can take confidence from that,” the midfielder said.
“We have beaten them before so why not tomorrow?”

- England’s ‘here to stay’ -

And England coach Mark Sampson insisted his side were more than a match for the Japanese.
“I think we’re going to see a game of contrasting styles tomorrow,” said the Welshman.
“There’s a lot of weapons we’re going to chuck their way.
"We have to appreciate and respect the quality they have technically but we’ve got some half decent players technically ourselves.
"We’re not going to be a one trick pony. There’s four teams left, world champions, European champions, Olympic champions and then us lot.
"We’re spoiling the party a little bit, but we’re here to stay.
"We know we’ve upset the apple cart so far. We’ve made life very difficult for every one of our opponents.
"This team is just a laid back cool team. They are relaxed and calm and focused on bringing big performances.”
Sampson has been trying to drum up support for the Lionesses back home, issuing a coupon on social media for fans to give to bosses so they can have a lie in after the game, which starts at midnight England time.
“England is a soccer country. I don’t think that Japan is at that level yet,” Sasaki said. “I think that the media should report this in Japan so we can do this type of thing in the future.”
Meanwhile, England’s women have been preparing for their first-ever World Cup semi-final by watching the Paul Gascoigne movie.
The film, released earlier this month, charts the life and career of one of England’s most maverick men’s players.
Arguably, Gascoigne’s most famous moment in an England shirt involved a World Cup semi-final, when he was brought to tears as England went out of Italia '90 at the hands of West Germany.
Sampson’s team have been drawing inspiration from the film, with goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain tweeting on Tuesday morning: “Loved watching Gascoigne with the girls tonight. Such pride and honour to play for @england. How it should be!”

Mars Astronauts Could See Blue Auroras on Red Planet

Astronauts visiting Mars in the future will be awed by dazzling auroral displays in the planet’s southern hemisphere, a new study suggests.

While previous research had confirmed the presence of beautiful “southern lights” on Mars, the new study predicts for the first time that the auroras of the Red Planet may be visible to the human eye.

“An astronaut looking up while walking on the red Martian soil would be able, after intense solar eruptions, to see the phenomena with the naked eye,” study co-author Cyril Simon Wedlund, of Aalto University in Finland, said in a statement.

Auroras on Earth, known as the northern or southern lights, occur when charged particles from the sun are caught by the planet’s magnetic field. As these particles excite the atoms and molecules of Earth’s atmosphere, they produce light emission. The well-known greens and reds stem from the excitation of oxygen, while blue and purple colors result from ionized molecular nitrogen.

Although Mars no longer has a global magnetic field, small fields still appear sporadically across the planet today, primarily in the southern hemisphere. Whereas Earth’s global magnetic field funnels charged particles toward the north and south poles, the more sporadic fields of Mars make the location of the auroras more variable.

Previous observations by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft and NASA’s MAVEN mission confirmed the presence of auroras on Mars, but could not determine if they would be visible to humans.

For the new study, researchers utilized a Planeterella — a sphere inside which magnetic fields and charged particles produce simulated auroral displays. There are 17 operational Planeterellas around the world; the study team used one in France.

The scientists loaded up this Planeterella with carbon dioxide, the dominant component of the thin Martian atmosphere. An electrical discharge was created in the region similar to the planet’s upper atmosphere, creating a blue glow that followed the magnetic field structure.

The new results, which were published in the journal Planetary and Space Science, should help researchers better understand the physics, mass and evolution of the Martian atmosphere, study team members said.

Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

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