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U-17 Japan National Team finish Spain tour with two wins and three draws

04 March 2017

U-17 Japan National Team finish Spain tour with two wins and three draws

International Friendly  Fifth Match vs U-17 Belgium National Team 
2 March 2017 (Thu.) Kick-off 10:30 (Local Time)  Playing time 80min.(40min. X 2)
San Pedro de Alcántara(Malaga, Spain)
U-17 Japan National Team 4-1(2-1, 2-0)U-17 Belgium National Team

6' TSUBAKI Naoki (U-17 Japan National Team)
23' goal against (U-17 Belgium National Team)
38' TSUBAKI Naoki (U-17 Japan National Team)
55' own goal (U-17 Japan National Team)
80' NAKAMURA Keito (U-17 Japan National Team)

Starting Line-ups

GK:AOKI Kokoro
DF:KIKUCHI Kenta , SEKO Ayumu, SUGAWARA Yukinari
MF:FUKUOKA Shimpei, KIDA Hinata

61' MORI Kaito → YAMADA Hiroto

Match Report

“00 Japan” clinched a 4-1 rematch victory over the U-17 Belgium National Team on Thursday 2 March in the fifth and final match of their Spain tour.

To finish this trip on a high note with a win, Japanese players came out and attacked aggressively from early in the match with defenders DUKE Carlos and IKETAKA Nobuki creating goal-scoring opportunities from their sides by sending crosses to the middle. In the 6th minute, when Iketaka fed an incisive cross after a passing exchange with HIRAKAWA Rei, TSUBAKI Naoki tapped in a deflection from the opposing goalkeeper to open the scoring. On the other hand, Belgium showed their attacking power as they threatened TANI Kosei’s goal with a high header off a corner nine minutes into the game, but denied by the Japanese keeper who barely parried it away.

Thereafter, Japan started to give away the ball more often in midfield and also at their defensive end of the pitch, and Belgium began to gradually control the match. After the European side sent a cross from the right flank, a Belgian player composedly fired the ball into the upper right of the net in the 23rd minute to level the match. Although the momentum was on the continental side, Tsubaki ran down the left and earned a penalty in the 38th minute to help his team score the second just before half time ending 2-1.

Despite taking the lead, Japan struggled to play at their own pace in the first half. However, they asserted their authority in the second against the Belgian players who threatened the Asian goal with their technical skills displaying a high level of commitment and strength on the ball by defending tenaciously to keep the European side from taking critical shots and scoring goals just as they did in the friendly a day prior.

Japan went further ahead with an own goal in the 55th minute, when midfielder NAKAMURA Keito gained a free kick on the left flank and whipped in a dazzling cross, which deflected off a Belgium defender and rolled into the net. As it was their fifth match in a week, they apparently started to show tiredness towards the end of the match. But the Japanese youngsters called out to each other and aggressively sought for more goals. In the 80th minute just before regulation time, Nakamura received the ball in midfield and ran past defenders with his pace before capitalising composedly a one-on-one with the goalkeeper for his team’s fourth goal. Japan capped their trip with a 4-1 win in their last match.

00 Japan’s Spain tour ended with two wins and three draws. Ahead of October’s FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, the Japan team and players got a valuable experience through a series of competitive matches against three countries who will play the UEFA European Under-17 Championship beginning in early March. 00 Japan will assemble again in two weeks before heading for the USA tour.

Coach's and Players' Comments

MORIYAMA Yoshiro, Coach
In this Spain trip, we had five matches against three elite teams in Europe who are scheduled to play in the UEFA European U-17 Championship in March. In the matches against Scotland during the first part of our trip, we managed to prevent the opponents from creating scoring opportunities by playing collectively and defending tenaciously. While we were able to execute a stable game plan, the playing conditions were significantly different from the ones we are used to in Japan. We struggled to create enough time and space to shoot unguarded and unfortunately the results turned out to be two straight scoreless draws. In the third match against Russia, we took advantage of what we learned through a pair of Scotland fixtures and attacked more aggressively towards the goal. As a result, we secured a 2-1 win by scoring one through a penalty and the other by a dynamic play using the flank and sending a neat cross ball to the middle.

In the second half of the trip, we played against Belgium who finished third in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2015. Throughout the two matches, we played to our strength capitalising on our agility and excellent team organisation, and finished the matches favourably with one win and one draw. In these five matches, we gained confidence that we can play evenly or better against any country. Furthermore, we were taught a very important lesson that there is often only a fraction of a second to decide and fire a shot in front of goal. From this point onwards, I expect my players to keep improving the quality and tenacity of plays in front of goal as well as the accuracy of them after they return to their respective teams.

MF #10 FUKUOKA Shimpei (Kyoto Sanga F.C. U-18)
Since we had a disappointing tour in Chile, we were looking to return to winning ways in this trip. Personally, I have set my goal to get more actively involved in both attacking and defensive plays, while making quicker decisions and improving the quality of every single pass and shot.

We struggled to perform in the first four matches where we had a difficult time coming up with a win, and I felt strongly that we need to go all out as a team today and secure a win to finish this trip on a high note. I only came on to the pitch from the second half, but I was able to keep my focus and enter the match. Finishing this half with two goals without conceding any will surely give us some confidence.

Talking about my game today, I was able to combine effectively with other attacking players and make quick decisions in build-ups. But throughout this trip, I made several controlling errors and passing mistakes. These are some of the issues I need to work on. Lastly, I felt the strong determination not to be outplayed during this trip, and also learned the importance of outsmarting the opponents. I will keep working hard with those lessons in mind.

FW #14 TANAHASHI Akito (Yokohama F・Marinos Youth)
We ended up drawing the first Belgium match that we were in a position to win. So we made sure to come out with the win today to wrap up our trip. Our flaws were obvious throughout the trip such as making frivolous mistakes, constructing ineffective combination plays and lacking the intensity on the ball especially in one-on-one situations. This experience reminded me that when you play against top teams in Europe, quick decision-making and relentless attitude towards scoring goals are very important. Not being able to score a single goal in this trip is surely a concern and something I need to work on after this trip. I will remember this bitterness and improve my goal-scoring ability prior to the next national-team tour.


Wed. 22 February PM Training
Thu. 23 February AM/PM Training
Fri. 24 February 0-0 International Friendly Match
vs U-17 Scotland National Team
(Estadio La Línea de la Concepción)
Sat. 25 February AM Training
Sun. 26 February 0-0 International Friendly Match
vs U-17 Scotland National Team
(Arroyo Enmedio)
Mon. 27 February 2-1 International Friendly Match
vs U-17 Russia National Team
(San Pedro de Alcántara)
Tue. 28 February AM Training
Wed. 1 March 2-2 International Friendly Match
vs U-17 Belgium National Team
(Estadio La Línea de la Concepción)
Thu. 2 March 4-1 International Friendly Match
vs U-17 Belgium National Team
(San Pedro de Alcántara)

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

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