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Kawasaki Frontale U-12 wins first title at JFA 42nd U-12 Japan Football Championship in penalty shootouts

30 December 2018

Kawasaki Frontale U-12 wins first title at JFA 42nd U-12 Japan Football Championship in penalty shootouts

On Saturday 29 December, the JFA 42nd U-12 Japan Football Championship final took place at Shiranami Stadium in Kagoshima, where Kawasaki Frontale U-12 (Kanagawa) won the national title for the first time.

The final featured Frontale and Osaka City Jeunesse FC (Osaka), where both sides created many opportunities from the early minutes of the match. Frontale came close to scoring the opening goal in the fourth minute when YAMANAKA Daiki struck a header off a cross delivered by ADOKORO Rio. Jeunesse responded with a free kick taken by NOGUCHI Rui that almost captured the target. Each team showcased an aggressive approach towards the goal.

With the match entering the second half scoreless, the battle to win the ball intensifies, and it was Frontale who broke the deadlock. Tadokoro carried the ball into the central area before sending the ball to the left side, allowing ARAI Sota to strike a shot. The shot was initially blocked by the opposing goalkeeper, but Tadokoro was there to convert the loose ball into the net.

The goal scored by Frontale has opened up the match, as Jeunesse levelled the match with the goal scored by Noguchi, assisted by MASUI Natsuki in the 30th minute. The Osaka side went onto take the lead in the 34th minute when they created a numerical advantage upfront that led to Masui’s 10th goal of the tournament. However, the Frontale side who has advanced through the quarterfinals and semi-finals in a come-from-behind fashion, kept their composure and scored the equaliser in the 35th minute with Arai’s midrange shot.

The match ended the 40-minute regulation time with a tie score of 2-2. Both teams fought well in the 10-minute over time, but neither side managed to capture the deciding goal, sending the match into penalty shootouts.

By regulation, the shootout was set for three attempts, but with each of the three spot takers successfully converting their attempts, the shootout went into the fourth kickers in a sudden death format. It was Frontale’s goalkeeper OTA Hiiro who made a superb save to deny Jeunesse’s fourth spot taker, giving his side the golden opportunity to close out the match. Frontale’s fourth spot taker, SAINA Yuta calmly converted the penalty to give his side the victory.

The Frontale side, who showcased a great mix of individual skills and team tactics captured their first national title. Jeunesse finished as the runners-up, while Sorriso Kumamoto U-12 (Kumamoto) and Avispa Fukuoka U-12 (Fukuoka) finished in third place. The Golden Boot Award was given to KOJIMA Koki of Fanaticos (Gunma), who scored 14 goals in four matches, and the Golden Glove Award went to MIYAMOTO Tetsuhiro of Sorriso Kumamoto U-12.

Players' Comments

OTA Hiiro (Kawasaki Frontale U-12)
I kept on seeking for the opportunity to initiate the attacks from the goalkeeper position. Once I possessed the ball, I sought for open players and focused on delivering the ball into the open space. (When making the save at the penalty shootout) I saw where the opponent was looking at, and I made the decision to jump towards that direction. I am glad we were able to earn the first title for our club.

TADOKORO Rio (Kawasaki Frontale U-12)
We gained lots of confidence from winning the quarterfinals and semi-finals in a come-from-behind fashion, and it also helped that our coaches told us that we had plenty of time. It was great that we managed to stay vocal and encourage ourselves throughout the match. My teammates have allowed me to score a goal, and I am very thankful for it.

KAWAGUCHI Ruki (Osaka City Jeunesse FC)
There were some entertaining matches and not so entertaining matches, but we are glad we were able to make a deep run in this tournament as a team. Today we had a fun match where we entered extra time. I wish I could have contributed for the team more by receiving and distributing the ball more often. I want to become a complete player that can dribble, pass, and shoot. I will continue to strive for the title at the junior high school level.

IJUUIN Nabiki (Osaka City Jeunesse FC)
I entered the penalty shootouts with the intention to stop the shots, but I am disappointed that I couldn’t stop any. For a second, I thought I stopped the third shot. I wish I could have contributed to our attacks more. I focused on receiving the back pass often, but I wasn’t able to create opportunities from my long feeds.

JFA 42nd U-12 Japan Football Championship

Tournament Dates: Tue. 25 - Sat. 29 December 2018

Opening Ceremony
Date: Tue. 25 December 2018
Location: Kagoshima Cultural Hall

1st Round/Round of 16
Date: Wed. 26 & Thu. 27 December 2018
Venue: Kagoshima Fureai Sportsland

Date: Fri. 28 December 2018
Venue: Kamoike Auxiliary Track & Field

Date: Fri. 28 & Sat. 29 December 2018
Venue: Shiranami Stadium

*All matches held in Kagoshima City

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