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HOME > National Teams > NEWS > U-18 Japan National Team starts off Spain Tour with a win - U-19 International Tournament "Copa del Atlantico"


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U-18 Japan National Team starts off Spain Tour with a win - U-19 International Tournament "Copa del Atlantico"

06 February 2019

U-18 Japan National Team starts off Spain Tour with a win - U-19 International Tournament

"Copa del Atlantico" 1st Match vs U-18 Canary Islands Select Team
Tue. 5 February 2019 Kick-off 16: 00 (Local time) Match Duration 90mins (45mins×2)
Municipal de Maspalomas (Canary Islands, Spain)

U-18 Japan National Team 2-1 (2-0, 0-1) U-18 Canary Islands Select Team

23' MATSUHASHI Yuan (U-18 Japan National Team)
25' ODA Yutaro (U-18 Japan National Team)
47' goal against (U-18 Canary Islands Select Team)

Starting Line-up

FW: FUJIO Shota, SOMENO Itsuki

69' YAMASAKI Taichi → NISHIO Ryuya
82' NAKAMURA Takumi → INOUE Miki
87' SAKURAGAWA Soromon → SOMENO Itsuki

Match Report

On Tuesday 5 February, the U-18 Japan National Team played their first match of the U-19 International Tournament "Copa del Atlantico" held at Canary Islands, Spain. The team won the match 2-1 against the local side, the U-18 Canary Islands Select Team, to get off to a fantastic start at the tournament.

The U-18 Canary Islands Select Team consists players belonging to CD Tenerife, where the Japan National Team member SHIBASAKI Gaku played two seasons ago, and UD Las Palmas, who belongs in La Liga 2. In the past tournaments, they have won over the Spain National Team and have showcased close battles against Japan each year.

Ahead of the match, Coach KAGEYAMA Masanaga sent off the players by mentioning, “Compared to the technically sound Spanish side, today’s opponents are much more physical, so go out aggressively from the beginning.” Just as the coach said, the Japanese players entered the match with great aggression to pressure the ball, but as expected, the Canarian players took the initiative of the match by utilising their physical strengths to their advantage. The local side also utilised the width of the field effectively, as they created a close opportunity in the fifth minute, but their final shot was just off the target. While Japan struggled to pick up their rhythm as they showed many passing errors, their first opportunity came in the 12th minute, when ODA Yutaro struck a shot from distance, but the ball was cleared by the opposing defender just at the edge of the goal line.

The intense battle between the two sides continued to heat up as the match progressed, but it was Japan who broke the dead lock. In the 23rd minute, YAMAMOTO Rihito received the ball just at the halfway line, before sending a lobbing through ball towards MATSUHASHI Yuan, who was making a diagonal run towards the goal. Matsuhashi successfully controlled the ball and slotted the ball into the net, giving Japan the opening goal. Just two minutes later, this time NAKAYAMA Riku delivered a superb through ball to Oda, who dribbled through the opposing defender before converting the opportunity to double the lead for Japan. Following the second goal, the Japanese defenders showed their persistency to keep the clean sheet to end the first half with a 2-0 lead.

In efforts to rally back, the second half saw the Canary Islands side attack with great aggression. In the 46th minute, a Canarian forward showed a fantastic individual effort to control a long ball delivered from his teammate, before shaking off two Japanese defenders and striking a shot into the net. This play gave great momentum to the local side, as they earned a penalty kick in the 49th minute, following a goal mouth scramble created by a free kick. However, the Japanese goalkeeper ITAHASHI Yosei, who entered the match from the second half, stepped up to the occasion to stop the spot kick to keep the lead intact. Despite the heroics shown by Itahashi, the patience of the Japanese side was being tested for a long stint. In the 67th minute, the Canary Islands broke through the right flank and created a crucial chance with a cross, but once again Itahashi was there to make the save. Japan had their opportunity to extend their lead in the 75th minute, when FUJIO Shota picked up the ball off a corner kick, but his attempt was denied by a superb save made by the opposing goalkeeper. The plays shown by the two sides got scrappy towards the end, but Japan managed to keep their lead intact to earn a 2-1 victory in their first match of the tournament. Japan will now face the U-18 Serbia National Team, who lost to the U-18 Spain National Team 1-3, on Wednesday 6.

Players' Comments

GK #12 ITAHASHI Yosei (Sagan Tosu U-18)
continuing from last year, I am glad to be called up to the national team, especially with this being the first tour abroad for the U-18 Japan National Team. With this being our first match of the tournament, I entered the second half with a strong intention to earn positive results. With the opponents attacking with great aggression, I conceded a goal in the very first minute, which made me realise how weak I was. At the end of the day, we kept a clean sheet in the first half, while conceded a goal in the second half. That’s the reality. However, I still managed to stop a penalty kick to subdue the opposing aggression. I will continue to strive to earn positive results in the remaining matches. I hope to utilise these experiences of facing wonderful teams to make myself a better player.

DF #3 YAMASAKI Taichi (Sanfrecce Hiroshima Youth)
I am very happy to be a part of this newly assembled U-18 Japan National Team. However, my goal is not just to be here, but to earn results with this team. My strengths are in my ability to deliver accurate long balls with both feet, so I entered the match with the intention to showcase my abilities. I especially focused on delivering through balls after carrying the ball upfront. In the scene where we scored our second goal, I knew SAKURAGAWA Soromon was making a run to free up Nakayama, so I was anticipating for that moment. I am glad that it worked out. But as a centre half, that goal we conceded at the start of the second half was a goal we should have saved. We faced some tough stretches both as a team and as an individual, so we must fix the issues we saw today ahead of our next match. Our team concept is to outrun our opponents while staying vocal and to show quick transitions, so we hope to keep a high standard in those aspects. We are aiming to win the title by winning over both Serbia and Spain. We know that they will not be an easy match, but we will fight hard as a team to earn the result we want.

DF #4 BABA Seiya (Tokyo Verdy Youth)
I am honoured to be selected into the U-18 Japan National Team. Considering that we had very limited time to train, I think that we did well to execute our offence in the first half. However, we struggled to make the adjustments in the second half when our opponents came out attacking with more aggression. With many players of Serbia and Spain already playing at the professional level, I want to learn what I can do against them, and what I need to improve as a player. Despite facing consecutive matches, I hope to maintain my focus to contribute to our team’s victory. We will like to win this tournament so that we can lift our team to a higher level.

MF #8 ODA Yutaro (Vissel Kobe U-18)
It’s great to be a part of this newly formed U-18 Japan National Team. It gives me great motivation to showcase my colour and challenge new things. In today’s match against the U-18 Canary Islands Select Team, despite winning the match, we saw many flaws including how poorly we entered the second half. I personally was able to make the adjustments to combine with my teammates upfront, so that was a positive thing I have taken from this match. However, I still need to be more eager to score goals and help out the team by scoring two, three goals. This tour gives us the opportunity to face wonderful teams in Europe, so I hope to utilise these matches to know where I stand at the world stage. I will work even harder to get more involved with our team’s goals in the remaining two matches and help the team win.

MF #20 NAKAYAMA Riku (Ventforet Kofu)
I am very happy to be involved with this new U-18 Japan National Team. Despite recording an assist in today’s match, I made many mistakes and saw plenty of room to improve on. By facing players we don’t normally face in Japan, it gave us a tough challenge and great inspiration. We hope to utilise this tour to heighten our team concepts of showing quick transitions, outrunning our opponents, and communication. We will learn from our match today to showcase a better performance tomorrow.


U-19 International Tournament "Copa del Atlantico"
Tue. 5 February 2-1 1st Match vs U-18 Canary Islands Select Team
(Municipal de Maspalomas)
Wed. 6 February 16:00 2nd Match vs U-18 Serbia National Team
(Anex Gran Canaria Stadium)
Thu. 7 February TBC Training
Fri. 8 February 18:30 3rd Match vs U-18 Spain National Team
(Anex Gran Canaria Stadium)

*Local Time
*The schedule is subject to change due to the team condition, the weather, etc.

U-19 International Tournament "Copa del Atlantico"

Dates: Tue. 5 - Fri. 8 February 2019
Venue: Municipal de Maspalomas, Anex Gran Canaria Stadium

Tournament Information

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