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Rodrigo: Try to play good game and win - Japan’s Futsal team to take on Croatia in December

31 October 2014

Rodrigo: Try to play good game and win - Japan’s Futsal team to take on Croatia in December

Miguel Rodrigo, the head coach of Japan National Futsal Team, expressed his hope on Thursday for the upcoming Croatia matches scheduled on Thursday 18 December at Komazawa and on Saturday 20 December at Kobe, saying “the matches will be a good opportunity to celebrate our back-to-back Asian championship. We will try to play a good game and get a win.”

After clinching their first-ever back-to-back title at the AFC Futsal Championship last May, Japan took an Itally trip starting at the end of September and participated in the Continental Cup in Kuwait last week as they kept changing their squad to reinforce the team and discover young players. The squad will play two matches against Croatia at home, which will be the first matches played in Japan after the defence of the Asian title in May.
Croatia notched the third place at the UEFA Futsal EURO in 2012. They are great opponents as they had a tie-game against the third-place-to be Spain and lost but played a close quarterfinal contest against Italy, which eventually won the crown at this year’s tournament.

Rodrigo spoke at the press conference at the JFA House in Tokyo and welcomes the opponents, saying “Croatia is definitely one of the top 10 teams in the world and strong opponents as their recent record shows so. I’m happy such strong team come to Japan.”
For the Croatia matches, the coach indicated his plan to play the mostly same squad as the AFC Championship. “The last FIFA World Cup squad had been replaced with young players at the AFC Championship. We won against Iran and won the championship with the short stretch of preparation, but still are not enough to build up the experience,” added Rodrigo. He aims to further develop his squad in the December matches in preparation for the 2016 FIFA World Cup.

Meanwhile, he revealed his plan to call up Espolada Hokkaido’s Murota Yuki, who scored a goal using a heel lift against Guatemala at the Continental Cup.
Rodrigo said of his goal, “I often tell players to play how they want to play without worrying too much about small things. What he did deserves great praise. On a Spanish TV sports show, his goal was aired in their top story, and it has gathered lots of attentions from the world. I want to grab such a flow and transform it to our team’s momentum.”

And Japan boss said “we’ll try to show a good game and get a win in the December games. I hope fans at Komazawa and Kobe enjoy our game.”

The squad against Croatia will be announced in December.
The first match will kick off at 7 p.m. on Thursday 18 December at Komazawa Olympic Park Gymnasium in Tokyo, and the second match will kick off at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday 20 December at Green Arena Kobe in Hyogo. Prior to the second match, Japan Women’s National Futsal Team’s international friendly, whose opponents will be announced later, is scheduled at 3 p.m. on the same day at the same site.


Miguel RODRIGO, Head Coach
I’m very happy that we can play against Croatia, which deserves to be one of the top four teams in Europa. Croatia are very strong as they clinched the third place at the UEFA Futsal EURO in 2012 and had a draw game with Spain and a close game against Italy at the last championship. While we are looking ahead to the FIFA World Cup in 2016, the squad is still young and lacks experience. I hope the upcoming games will be an opportunity to build up our experience.
It’s been a while since the AFC Championship members got together last time, but we have already built up the national team playing style. We’ll play the games based on that. We have focused on putting hard pressure in defence. From now on, we need to elaborate our offensive performance as well to keep possessing the ball so that it will lead to a win. It’s been a bit some time since we won the back-to-back AFC championship. Even so, I want to make the upcoming games an opportunity where we can celebrate the title and enjoy just like it’s a festival. I’m not sure if there will be any super goal popping up, but anyway we’ll play a good game and get a win.

MATSUZAKI Yasuhiro, JFA Executive Managing Director and Futsal Committee Chairman
After the back-to-back AFC championship, the Italy trip in the end of September and the Continental Cup last week, we will play Croatia in December. The matches will be a good opportunity to improve the national team, and I hope fans coming to watch the games enjoy the performance of the Japan National Team.

International Friendly Match   Japan Futsal National Team vs Croatia Futsal National Tem

1st game - Thu. 18 December 2013
Kickoff 19:00 (plan) Komazawa Olympic Park General Sports Ground Gymnasium/Tokyo
FUJI TV (Kanto region only)    Recorded broadcast of the digest

2nd game - Sat. 20 December 2014
Kickoff 18:30 (plan) Green Arena Kobe/Hyogo
FUJI TV (Kanto region only)    Recorded broadcast

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