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U-18 Japan National Team beat Thailand and qualify for AFC Championship with three consecutive wins – AFC U-19 Championship 2018 Qualifiers Group I (4-8 November, Mongolia)

09 November 2017

U-18 Japan National Team beat Thailand and qualify for AFC Championship with three consecutive wins – AFC U-19 Championship 2018 Qualifiers Group I (4-8 November, Mongolia)

AFC U-19 Championship 2018 Qualifiers
Third Match vs U-18 Thailand National Team

8 November 2017 (Wed.) Kick-off 12:00 (Local time) Playing Time 90min.(45min.×2)
Football Centre MFF (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia)

U-18 Japan National Team 2-1(0-0, 2-1)U-18 Thailand National Team

Scores
62' TAGAWA Kyosuke(U-18 Japan National Team)
65' CHOKANAN SAIMA-IN(U-18 Thailand National Team)
66' TAGAWA Kyosuke(U-18 Japan National Team)

Starting Line-ups
GK:OSAKO Keisuke
DF:KAWAI Ayumu, HASHIOKA Daiki TANIGUCHI Hiroto, OGIWARA Takuya
MF:FUJIMOTO Kanya, SAITO Mitsuki, ITO Hiroki, SUGIURA Fumiya
FW:ANDO Mizuki, TAGAWA Kyosuke

Reserves
GK:WAKAHARA Tomoya、SARUTA Haruki
DF:ISHIHARA Hirokazu, ABE Kaito, NAKAMURA Yuta, SUGIYAMA Danto
MF:HORI Kenta, TANAKA Riku, KAWAMURA Takumu, GOKE Yuta
FW:ABE Hiroki, HARA Taichi

Substitutions
61' SUGIURA Fumiya → ABE Hiroki
75' ANDO Mizuki → GOKE Yuta
86' TANIGUCHI Hiroto → ABE Kaito

Match Report

U-18 Japan National Team faced Thailand in their final match of the AFC U-19 Championship 2018 Qualifiers. Unlike the previous matches in the qualifiers, the game started under clear blue skies, but equally severe conditions where the wind was painfully cold with temperatures dropping below 14℃.

From the beginning of the match, Thailand took on a defensive approach and guarded their goal, but Japan created a scoring chance immediately after the kick-off. ANDO Mizuki exploited the open space in the opposing end to attempt the first shot of the game, but unfortunately for the Japanese side it struck the goalpost. Thereafter, the young Samurai squad initiated several attacks from both flanks and sent cross balls to the centre, but the solid Thai defence did not allow them to open the scoring before the first half ended in a scoreless contest.

Japan entered the second half cautiously, as they were looking to see whether Thailand would take on a more attacking stance, but their game plan remained the same as they stayed back and protected their goal firmly, while they searched for their chances to score from set pieces. After confirming Thailand’s strategy, the Japanese squad took on a similar approach as they did in the first half and tried to carve open the Thai defence by connecting passes inside the opponents' half. Despite struggling to net a goal against the South Asian counterparts, the young Samurai warriors kept their composure as they put strong pressure on Thai players after they lose possession to reclaim the ball, and attacked with persistence. Then in the 62nd minute, their hard work finally paid off, as substitute ABE Hiroki surged up the right side to centre the ball and TAGAWA Kyosuke claimed the ball after evading the challenges of the surrounding defenders to find a open space, where he struck a dazzling left-footer into the net to open the scoring for the Japanese team.

However, Thailand exploited the momentary gap in Japanese defence just three minutes after the goal and tied the game on 65 minutes. Japan cleared a long ball that was sent into the front of their goal from a free kick, but Thai forward CHOKANAN SAIMA-IN got to loose ball first and fired a left footer into the net to level the match.

Japan came back strongly and responded with a go-ahead goal just one minute after the equaliser. On 66 minutes, SAITO Mitsuki collected a short corner on the left and delivered a incisive ball to the centre, where Tagawa reacted superbly to the quick cross and tapped in the second for the Japanese squad. This was the important, game-deciding goal as Japan dominated the remainder of the match, but failed to score another before the final whistle.

U-18 Japan National Team edged Thailand 2-1 in the final match of the AFC qualifiers and grabbed three straight wins under extremely cold weather with freezing temperatures. As a result, the Japanese squad topped Group I and qualified for the coming AFC U-19 Championship 2018 in October.

Coach's and Players' Comments

KAGEYAMA Masanaga, Coach (U-18 Japan National Team)
I highly praise my players for grabbing three consecutive wins. I believe they have achieved such a result because of their great effort they put in and their positive attitude during training to build an excellent team. The temperatures were below zero degrees and we were forced to play on a snow-covered pitch in the second match, but my players displayed mental toughness even to play under such severe conditions. The team will end their activities for the year once they return to Japan, but I hope that my players think about the AFC qualifiers as well as the potent teams that they faced during the tours abroad and international competitions during this year in their respective club teams. I further expect them to continue their hard work as they keep in mind the level of football that they need to attain in order to compete effectively against the top teams in the world. Only then we can assemble a team that has the ability to compete against the world’s bests and attain positive results in the U-20 World Cup. However, we must first focus and make a good preparation for the coming U-19 AFC Championship. I am grateful for everyone who supported us from Japan, and our supporters who came to the stadium in Mongolia where the weather was freezing cold. Thank you very much for all of your support.

MF #8 FUJIMOTO Kanya (Tokyo Verdy Youth)
I am pleased that we got through the qualifiers by winning the final match today. Compared to the previous two matches, we could not score a lot of goals and even conceded one. We still have room for improvement. Throughout the three matches in the qualifiers, we faced tough stretches during the game, but I consider it as positive that even under such circumstances we were able score plenty of goals from quality crosses and set-pieces. It was an excellent experience for me to play under difficult conditions in Mongolia. The competition for the next final qualifiers will be starting soon, and I will keep up my hard work to further improve my game and win future matches as well.

MF #20 SUGIURA Fumiya (Nagoya Grampus U-18)
First of all, I am very happy to go through the qualifiers by beating Thailand 2-1. However, we found many areas that we need to improve when we faced the defence that was guarded firmly by placing the defenders in front of their goal. I felt that our accuracy of shots from range as well as crosses are especially important against the teams who stayed back and defended. These are some of the areas that we need to work on. I will keep up my hard work and improve myself further to get called-up again to this national team.

FW #11 ABE Hiroki (Kashima Antlers)
I would like to say that we have attained a perfect result by winning all three matches in Mongolia. Even in this harsh environment which made it difficult for all of us including the staff to prepare for the matches in good form, we all worked together and secured three wins without any injuries. I believe that this was the greatest achievement for the team. Furthermore, during this trip, I realised the importance of off-the-pitch preparation in football. I must thank our staff and my teammates for letting me focus and give my best in matches as well as allowing me to play with respect for our opponents and all the staff who supported the qualifiers as well.

Schedule

AFC U-19 Championship Bahrain 2018 Qualifiers Group I
Sat. 4 November 7-0 vs Mongolia (Football Centre MFF)
Sun. 5 November TBC Training
Mon. 6 November 7-0 vs Singapore (Football Centre MFF)
Tue. 7 November TBC Training
Wed. 8 November 2-1 vs Thailand (Football Centre MFF)

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

【2018 AFC U-19 Championship】
Ten group winners and five best second-placed teams among all the groups in the qualifiers and hosts (a total of 16 teams) will participate in the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship that is schedule to begin from 18 October and end in 4 November next year.

AFC U-19 Championship Bahrain 2018 Qualifiers

Tournament Period:31 October 2017(Tue.)~8 November 2017(Wed.)

Tournament Information

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