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U-16 Japan National Team earns victory over Yemen in their first match of the 5th WAFF U-16 Championship 2018

02 August 2018

U-16 Japan National Team earns victory over Yemen in their first match of the 5th WAFF U-16 Championship 2018

The 5th WAFF U-16 Championship 2018
U-16 Japan National Team vs U-16 Yemen National Team

Wed. 1 August 2018 Kick-off time 20:00 (Local time) Match duration 90mins (45mins x2)
King Abdullah Ⅱ Stadium, Amman

U-16 Japan National Team 1-0 (0-0, 1-0) U-16 Yemen National Team

63' NAKANO Keita (U-16 Japan National Team)

Starting Line-ups
DF: ISHIDA Yusuke, SAKO Maaya, NAGATA Yuri, TAJIMA Mitsuki
MF: YOKOKAWA Asahi, MITO Shunsuke, SUMI Kohshiro, NAKANO Ryuma
FW: NAKANO Keita, AOKI Yusuke

GK: SASAKI Masato, NOZAWA Taishi Brandon
MF: KONDO Kuraba, NARUOKA Hikaru, UEDA Keita, YAMADA Nao

54' AOKI Yusuke → TOYAMA Shoji
76' NAKANO Keita → YOSHIDA Yuji
84' MITO Shunsuke → KONDO Kuraba

Match Report

After departing Japan on Monday 30 July, the U-16 Japan National Team arrived in Jordan on Tuesday 31 July. The team played in their fist match of the 5th WAFF U-16 Championship on the following day, on Wednesday 1 August, which the team bested the U-16 Yemen National Team 1-0 to open up the championship with a victory.

This tournament features teams that the U-16 Japan National Team may face in the upcoming AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018, scheduled in September. The U-16 Yemen National Team is one of those teams, and Coach MORIYAMA Yoshiro told his team prior to the match, “This match will either give us the edge in the future encounter or give our opponents confidence that they can cope with us.” The coach went onto demand the players to win the match without exposing weaknesses.

Japan showcased their dominance by possessing the ball and moving the ball around, but made mistakes in crucial moments, failing to score the opening goal. The team came short from creating opportunities to take shots, and conversely gave up chances to Yemen through counter attacks. In the 38th minute, forward NAKANO Keita broke through the right flank before sending a cross towards the centre, but once again Japan couldn’t find ways to take a shot at goal. With Japan struggling to create a clear chance, the first half ended scoreless.

Although Japan entered the second half without finding their rhythm, they started to gain momentum after bringing in their substitutes. Forward TOYAMA Shoji, who was brought in at the 54th minute, continuously penetrated the space behind the defenders to create opportunities for Japan. The deadlock was finally broken on the 63rd minute, when the Japanese side forced a turnover deep in the opponent’s territory. Nakano fired a mid-range shot which the opposing goalkeeper was able to get a hand on, but his shot carried enough momentum to break the goal line, giving Japan the long-awaited opener. Japan continued to attack to extend their lead, however, with the team just arriving from Japan on the day before, their conditions were not at their best. Many Japanese players were seen getting cramps in their leg towards the end of the match. The closing minutes turned out to be a tough stretch for Japan, but with the help of the substituted players and those players who were able to cover for the others, the team managed to sustain their 1-0 lead to win their tournament opener.

Despite winning the match, the team was threatened many times by the opposing side, and couldn’t manage to win without exposing weaknesses, which was what Coach Moriyama asked for prior to the match. The match gave Japan many things to ponder ahead of September. The U-16 Japan National Team will now face the U-16 India National Team as their second match of the tournament on Friday 3 August.

Players' Comments

DF #17 NAGATA Yuri (JFA Academy Fukushima U18)
Today we played in our first match of this Jordan tour. Although we won the match 1-0, I am not satisfied with our performance. We lacked coverage in the space behind our defence line and our opponents exploited those space many times. We must fix that problem through our training sessions and the following matches. However, the fact we managed to keep a clean sheet gave us great confidence. I will do my best to improve myself and become a player that can contribute more for the team.

DF #18 TAJIMA Mitsuki (Shimizu S-Pulse Youth)
Although we managed to win as a team, personally I couldn’t display a satisfying performance. I didn’t make enough overlapping runs, and my positionings to receive the ball were not good either. There were many times I gave up possession before creating an offensive attempt. The numbers of sprints I make up the line and the strengths in one-on-one situations are something I must take an emphasis on as a fullback, so I must work on those aspects even more. I will focus on those points in our remaining matches and work hard as a team to win the matches.

DF #22 ISHIDA Yusuke (Ichiritsu Funabashi High School)
I am very happy to be selected into the travel squad for the first time. We lacked risk management in our match today as we the space behind our defence line was exploited many times during the first half. Even though we knew what our opponents were doing, we couldn’t make the adjustments during the match, and ultimately made the match tough on ourselves. We lacked the ability to make the necessary adjustments both as a team and as an individual. Everyone needs to start taking more leadership and coach their peers to better ourselves. Despite winning the match, it made me realise I have many tasks to work on. In our next match, I will try to make more adjustments during the match. I will change my daily routine so that I can spend more time thinking about football.

FW #9 NAKANO Keita (Kyoto Sanga F.C. U-18)
First of all, I am glad we earned three points. However, we saw many tasks in our ball control, passing, ball movements and many other aspects. At the same time, it gave us the opportunity to see how the Asian teams approach the game and utilise the time. We still have three more matches to play, so we will focus to earn good results and prepare ourselves ahead of the AFC U-16 Championship.


The 5th WAFF U-16 Championship 2018
Wed. 1 August 1-0 1st Match vs U-16 Yemen National Team
(Amman/King Abdullah Ⅱ International Stadium)
Thu. 2 August TBC Training
Fri. 3 August 20:00 2nd Match vs U-16 India National Team
(Amman/King Abdullah Ⅱ International Stadium)
Sat. 4 August TBC Training
Sun. 5 August 17:00 3rd Match vs U-16 Jordan National Team
(Amman/King Abdullah Ⅱ International Stadium)
Mon. 6 August TBC Training
Tue. 7 August TBC Training
Wed. 8 August TBC Training
Thu. 9 August 17:00 4th Match vs U-16 Iraq National Team
(Amman/King Abdullah Ⅱ International Stadium)
Fri. 10 August TBC Training

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

WAFF U-16 Championship

Three member associations of the WAFF (West Asian Football Federation), Jordan, Yemen, and Iraq will be joined by India and Japan.

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