SAMURAI BLUE to begin World Cup Qualifiers in June, Nadeshiko target back-to-back championship – Japan National Teams schedule and action plan
11 December 2014
The Japan Football Association has announced its 2015 schedule and action plan of each Japan National Team including SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Men’s Team) and Nadeshiko Japan (Japan National Women’s Team) on 10 December at JFA House in Tokyo.
SAMURAI BLUE will take on the first round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers starting in June after the AFC Asian Cup in January, where they contend for the back-to-back championship. The draw of the World Cup Qualifiers will be held in April. SAMURAI BLUE head coach Javier Aguirre says “If we get the Asian Cup title, it will be additional boost for our team so that we can fight for the year 2015 with refreshed mind-set.”
JFA President Daini Kuniya says “The following year is when we realise ‘JFA 2015’ stated in the JFA 2005 Declaration. First of all, we will be the back-to-back Asian Cup champions at any cost and make it the first step for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.” He added a comment on Nadeshiko saying “They will certainly make improvements in the next six months before the tournament and hopefully we will again generate sensation and a big Nadeshiko buzz in Japan.” He also says of other generations “the development of youth players, who eventually take over the future of Japanese football, is urgent.” He revealed a plan to set up more matches for youth players to gain more international experience not only with national teams but also with their own club in cooperation with the J.League and its clubs.
Shimoda Masahiro, Technical Committee Chairman, says “We will keep up the part where we are competitive in the world. And the key is how we make up for what we are short of (after the FIFA World Cup over the summer). ‘Continuity and development’ are what we think as important.” Japan National U-22 team, aiming for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, will play the AFC U-23 Championship in late March in Malaysia, which also serves as the first round of the Olympics Qualifiers.
Teguramori Makoto, head coach of Japan National U-21/U-22 Team, states his objective, saying “Our objective in the Olympics is to get a medal. Even in the first round we will fight hard to show our potential that we can write a new history for Japan.”
Meanwhile, Nadeshiko Japan contend for the back-to-back title of the FIFA Women’s World Cup held in June in Canada. About the drawing that took place last week, Nadeshiko Japan head coach Sasaki Norio renews his motivation, saying “People say we are in the ‘heavenly group,’ but strong teams tend to lose in such a group, looking at the Men’s World Cup. We will brace our nerves and try for the back-to-back title, fighting out each one of the upcoming matches.”
Noda Akemi, JFA Women's Committee Chairman, mentions the importance of consistent development throughout young generations and sets up her team’s objective to get a ticket for the U-17 and U-20 World Cups.
The men’s futsal team will keep building up the team during 2015 in preparation for the two tournaments scheduled in 2016: the AFC Futsal Championship, where they set a target for the third consecutive championship, and the FIFA Futsal World Cup. The women’s team will take on the 1st AFC Futsal Championship in September. Matsuzaki Yasuhiro, Futsal Committee Chairman, says “Men’s team aim at the final 8 and women’s team contend for the inaugural AFC Championship crown.”
The AFC Beach Soccer Championship will be held in March in Doha, Qatar as it doubles with the qualifiers of the FIFA World Cup in July. Marcelo Mendes, Japan National Beach Soccer Team head coach, says “The qualifiers in March will be the big gateway for the World Cup. We will win the ticket and fight in the World Cup as a representative of Asia.”
Javier AGUIRRE, Head Coach of SAMURAI BLUE / Japan National Team
I will select the 23 men to claim the back-to-back AFC Asian Cup title. If we get the Asian Cup title, it will be additional boost for our team so that we can fight for the year 2015 with refreshed mind-set. I believe we can grow and evolve in the AFC Asian Cup, so (the tournament) will be important. While the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers start in June, our goal is to reach the top 15 in the world. Japan have quite a good foundation built up at the last FIFA World Cup with great concept for their tactics. I want to keep it, but we also need to win. Japan National Team will fight as hard as they would leave every bit of their soul on the pitch, so please support us. You will be proud of Japan National Team.
TEGURAMORI Makoto, Head Coach of Japan National U-21/U-22 Team
We finally start off after the Olympics Qualifier’s draw. Our objective in the Olympics is to get a medal. Even in the first round, we will fight hard to show our potential that we can write a new history for Japan. It was a disappointing year for Japanese football – youth category, the World Cup, and we weren’t able to get another championship at the Asian Games. Japanese football is targeting the breakthrough in Russia. To achieve that, my team’s generation needs to grow rapidly. In 2015, we will win out the Olympics Qualifiers and spend the season for building up the team.
SASAKI Norio, Head Coach of Nadeshiko Japan/Japan Women’s National Team
The FIFA World Cup drawing was done, and we finally start our activity for the back-to-back title. People say we are in the “heavenly group,” but strong teams tend to lose in such a group, looking at the Men’s World Cup. We will brace our nerves and try for the back-to-back title, fighting out each one of the upcoming matches. It’s our first time to aim at the World Cup under such pressure (to win again), but we will work on it as a team. At the last tournament, we were successful in delivering energy, courage and hope to our country by winning the championship in the midst of the devastating situation. Inspiring them with our performance is really our goal to chase as well as that of men’s team. We will build the team that can again deliver energy to Japanese people.
Miguel RODRIGO, Head Coach of Japan National Futsal Team
I came to Japan in 2009 and the beautiful, tight four years in my life have passed. I believe I was able to leave something in the Japanese futsal history. I don’t want to be satisfied with the Asian Championship title and want to let our name further spread out around the world. The third straight Asian Championship title is at stake in 2016. The year 2015 will be very important to get ready for it. To make our steady development possible, we will go on multiple international trips and have camps in Japan. After our team got younger again, we could win the Asian Championship by beating such a good team like Iran. But we still need to get more experience. We will take advantage of our youth, stay hungry to get even better, use it as our energy to keep going, win the AFC Championship in 2016, and eventually be good enough to go as far as quarter finals at the FIFA World Cup.
Marcelo MENDES, Head Coach of Japan National Beach Soccer Team
I believe we have achieved big things during seven months since April. I came to Japan after I had worked in Arab for seven years, and I have been learning a lot with players. 2014 was quite big for me. Gathering the JFA’s and technical staff’s efforts, we were successful in putting together the new roster through the activities around the nation. I’m pleased that we reached the final at the tournament in Thailand thanks to the players selected by our scouting at clinics around the nation. In 2015, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in July has its qualifiers start in March. Me and our players have big confidence for it. We know what we are supposed to do and will qualify for the FIFA World Cup and play good matches as a representative of Asia.
DAINI Kuniya, President of Japan Football Association
Japan National Team start off 2015 with the AFC Asian Cup. At the FIFA World Cup this year, unfortunately we dropped out of the group stage and failed to live up to everyone's expectations. But the following year is when we realise “JFA 2015” stated in the JFA 2005 Declaration. First of all, we will be the back-to-back Asian Cup champions at any cost and make it the first step for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. The World Cup Brazil was the tournament where young generation turned in good performance. The development of youth players, who eventually take over the future of Japanese football, is urgent. Next year, we arrange a team in all generations from U-18 to U-15 to give them opportunities for international experience. We plan to set up more matches for youth players to gain more international experience not only with national teams but also with their own club in cooperation with the J.League and its clubs
HASHIMOTO Seiichi, Executive Director/CSV General Manager of Kirin Company Limited.
The following year will be a challenge for Japan National Teams. Men’s team have the Asian Cup at the beginning of the year and the qualifiers for Russia starting in June, Nadeshiko will aim at the back-to-back FIFA Women’s World Cup title. Under the new coach, I expect they will show off new Japan and new playing style to the world. For the Kirin Group, the year will also be the turning point as an official partner. We will renew our mind and support Japan’s national teams.
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