Kirin Cup to be held after five-year break - 2016 schedule released
25 December 2015
The Japan Football Association released the 2016 annual schedule for the national teams on 24 December. The Kirin Cup will be held after a five-year break, which will be an excellent opportunity for SAMURAI BLUE to strengthen their team prior to the final qualifiers in September.
The returning championship, the “Kirin Cup Soccer 2016”, will be a knockout competition among four countries instead of a three-country round-robin format as in the previous championship. The matches will be held at the TOYOTA Stadium in Aichi on 3 June and at Suita City Football Stadium in Osaka on 7 June. The participating countries and kick-off times will be announced once decided.
Vahid HALILHODZIC, the coach of SAMURAI BLUE, expressed his aims “the Kirin Cup in June will be a great opportunity for the team. I’d like to assemble the team with the best possible players and hope to meet opponents stronger than us.”
The remaining two games of the Second Asian Qualifiers for 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia are to be held at the end of March. If they get through, the team will play in the Asian final qualifying round from 1 September. Then the final qualifiers will be on 6 September, on 6 and 11 October and on 15 November.
The coach Vahid HALILHODZIC mentioned, “we succeeded in 2015. However, that was only the first step of our plan. We’d like to stay in the lead in the group in the remaining two matches of the second qualifying round in March. The Kirin Cup in June will be our second stage. We’ll find our opponents more difficult.”
Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) will play in the Asian final qualifiers from 29 February to 9 March in Osaka to book a place for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The six participating teams will compete for the two spots in the Olympics. The team will hold three training camps to prepare themselves from January.
SASAKI Norio, the coach of Nadeshiko Japan, noted “we will face tough games next year. We’d like to devote ourselves in order to book a place at the Olympics and earn a gold medal, which we couldn’t achieve in London.”
U-23 Japan National Team will participate in the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship in Qatar from 13 January, which will also be the qualifying round for the Olympics. The team will prepare themselves at the site from 2 January.
Futsal Japan National Team aims to win the AFC Futsal Championship for the third time in a row in Uzbekistan in February, which also acts as the qualifiers for the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Colombia in September. The team will play two friendlies against Colombia at Yoyogi National 2nd Gymnasium in Tokyo on 27 January and at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium on 30 January prior to the AFC Futsal Championship from 10 February.
The team will also play friendly matches at the Wing Arena Kariya in Aichi from 22 to 24 April as well as at the Xebio Arena Sendai in Miyagi on 20 August in preparation for the World Cup.
Vahid HALILHODZIC, Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
Although I believe we succeeded in 2015, it is only the first step of our plan. We’d like to win the coming two matches in March in the Second Asian Qualifiers for FIFA World Cup in Russia to stay in lead. The Kirin Cup in June will be our second stage. We’ll find our opponents more difficult. In 2016, we aim to improve ourselves even more than in 2015, and hope to upgrade our FIFA World Ranking.
SASAKI Norio, Coach of Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team)
Although we managed to reach the final of the FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada this year, I learned that finishing in second didn’t mean much. We will face tough games next year. We’d like to devote ourselves in order to book a place for the Olympics and earn a gold medal, which we couldn’t achieve in London. We’d like to improve ourselves in the training camp in January, so that we have strength in depth.
TEGURAMORI Makoto, Coach of U-23 Japan National Team
SAMURAI BLUE started their preparation for the coming 2018 World Cup. The improvement of the U-23 generation will be the key for the team. We’re determined to play hard to book a place for the Olympics, so that we can change Japanese football history.
TAKAKURA Asako, Coach of U-20 Japan Women's National Team
We managed to earn a ticket for the World Cup through penalties in the final of the Asian qualifiers in September. As we found some tasks to be fixed, I’d like to improve the team from now. Especially, we need to raise the level of our physical aspect to play internationally. I’ll instruct the players to become real athletes, not to mention with techniques and tactics.
KUSUNOSE Naoki, Coach of U-16 Japan Women's National Team
As the team was crowned the champions in the previous World Championships, I feel pressure to take over from TAKAKURA as a coach. I’d like to use my know-how in improving men’s team to improve the players.
Miguel RODRIGO, Coach of Futsal Japan National Team
It’s been six years since I came to Japan to create a Japanese futsal playing style, which is different from any other countries. I believe Japan has got a unique style. We will aim to win three consecutive AFC Futsal Championships in February, and become a quarterfinalist in the World Cup. I hope many children play futsal and continue to play either futsal or football in their later lives.
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