【Match Report】Japan Beach Soccer National Team win first international friendly match held in Japan in three years
02 October 2022
On Saturday 1 October, the Japan Beach Soccer National Team played an international friendly match against the Ukraine Beach Soccer National Team at Okura Beach Park in Hyogo, where they won 4-2.
Japan started a fresh looking line-up, featuring national team debutant SHIBAMOTO Shinya (Averdade Kumamoto BS) and SAITO Gaiya (Sol Mar Praia Okinawa) who made his debut in the team’s recent trip to Spain in July.
Following a scoreless first period, Japan took the lead in the 15th minute, when player-coach and team captain MOREIRA Ozu (Tokyo Verdy BS) fired a powerful shot from the centre of the pitch that found the back of the net. Ukraine responded a minute later, when Ihor LEVCHENKO converted a shot from distance to equalise the match.
Gaining momentum from the equaliser, Ukraine took the lead at the beginning of the third period, when Dmytro VOITENKO scored a skilful shot from the left side. Despite conceding the lead, Japan remained composed to level the score just a minute later, when OBA Takaaki (Loewe Yokohama) converted the deflection of a shot taken by KAWAI Yusuke (Tokyo Verdy BS). In the 29th minute, AKAGUMA Takuya (Lazo Apego Kitakyusyu), who made his 100th cap with the national team, scored the go-ahead goal to give Japan the lead.
While Moreira controlled the game as the fixo, Saito applied aggressive pressure from the frontline to create chances. In the 32nd minute, Saito won the ball deep in the opposing end before passing the ball to YAMAUCHI Shusei (Tokyo Verdy BS), who calmly slotted the ball into the net to score the team’s fourth goal of the match.
As a result, Japan finished their first international friendly match held in Japan in three years with a 4-2 victory. The two sides will face once again on Sunday 2 October to conclude the two-game series.
Evacuees from Ukraine were invited for this match to support the Ukraine Beach Soccer National Team and to enjoy the friendly match. On this day, dozens of people came to watch the match.
Coaches and Players’ Comments
FP #10 MOREIRA Ozu (Tokyo Verdy BS)
About half of the team is new, so the aim was to give the young players experience in preparation for the World Cup qualifiers. We haven’t been able to work together as a team, so it was hard to get everyone on the same page, but I think we could have done a better job to pick up our pace in the outset. We eventually found our rhythm, and despite conceding the lead at one point, we managed to keep our composure to earn this result. For our next match, we will bring in the players who didn’t play in the first match and try to improve on our overall performance.
GK #22 SHIBAMOTO Shinya (Averdade Kumamoto BS)
This was my second call-up to the national team and my first international match, so I was a bit nervous at first, and couldn’t control the game in the early minutes. I wanted to showcase my ability to score goals from behind, but I wasn’t able to find good spots to take a shot. This was my first time playing against foreign teams, so it was a great learning experience. If I am given the opportunity to play again in tomorrow’s match, I will try to showcase my strengths as much as possible.
FP #6 AKAGUMA Takuya (Lazo Apego Kitakyusyu)]
Despite facing a very tough match, I am glad we were able to walk away with a victory. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me in reaching my 100th cap. Kawai and I had been communicating and working on the details from our training sessions, and today’s goal was the result of that. I hope that we can all work together towards our big goal of winning the World Cup, while I strive to score my 100th goal and earn my 200th cap with the national team.
Mykola KOSTENKO, Coach (Ukraine Beach Soccer National Team)
The atmosphere at the venue was very welcoming and we went into the match with a lot of enthusiasm against the Japanese side, who are one of the strongest teams in the world. Our players fought hard, but physically they were a bit outclassed by the Japanese players. We worked hard to create some close opportunities. Japan was stronger today, but we will make the most of this experience to get better and strive to win our next match tomorrow.
International Friendly Match
【1st Match】Sat. 1 October 2022 [14: 00]
【2nd Match】Sun. 2 October 2022 [14: 00]
Fixture: Japan Beach Soccer National Team vs Ukraine Beach Soccer National Team
Venue: Okura Beach Park (Hyogo)
Internet streaming: Live stream on JFA's official YouTube channel "JFATV"
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