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U-19 Japan squad practice in preparation for the semifinal against Vietnam in AFC Championship

27 October 2016

U-19 Japan squad practice in preparation for the semifinal against Vietnam in AFC Championship

Tue. 25 October

The U-19 Japan National Team advanced to the semifinals after winning against the Republic of Tajikistan in the quarterfinals to book a place in the FIFA U-20 World Cup for the first time in five U-19 AFC Championship appearances. This was their primary aim to qualify for the world competition as they assembled the team, but on the next day after the important qualification match, they held regular training sessions to focus on the remaining matches of the tournament. The squad were divided into two groups, where the starting members of the last night’s match went through recovery regiment, while the reserve members held the training on the pitch.

After achieving their goal of qualifying the World Cup, the team have now shifted their focus to become the top team in Asia. In a tightly-scheduled tournament with only two days until the semifinal match, the squad members still managed to workout diligently without losing their concentration from the fatigue from battling the tough Asian competitions.

At their accommodation, where the Japanese squad has been staying for over two weeks after arriving to Bahrain, the staff members of the hotel congratulated the team and held a celebratory event for qualifying the World Cup.

Wed. 26 October

One day prior to the semifinal match, the entire team held training sessions on the pitch, as they imagined and simulated the game tomorrow. They went through passing exercises focusing on the speed, the distance and the tempo in which they move the ball around. Then, they moved on to 10-on-10 drills, where they practiced constructing their offence in the following sequence: regaining possession and building up (the initial point of attack), developing and advancing the ball, breaking down the opponents’ defence, and finishing or creating scoring chances (until where the attacker has the chance to take a shot). Lastly, they checking on their set plays and wrapped up their day. The overall training was shorter than usual, but nothing to take away from the quality in which they practiced in preparation for the Vietnam match.

Players' Comments

DF #22  ITAKURA Kou (Kawasaki Frontale)
I am glad that we qualified for the World Cup, but I am disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to play in the last four games of the championship. But that does not mean that I am not prepared when given the chance to enter the game. I will be making the best preparation possible for the match tomorrow, and when I actually do get the opportunity to play the match, I will do my best and try to contribute to the victory of the team. Winning the semifinal and taking the momentum to the final, we will aim to become the Asian champions and look ahead towards the World Cup matches.

DF #16  IWATA Tomoki (Oita Trinita)
I am simply glad that we attained our goal of qualifying for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. We are getting better with each game. We want to continue improving ourselves, win the AFC championship and enter the World Cup as Asian champions. There is a positive atmosphere surrounding the team as we booked the place in the World Cup. However, we need to keep our focus on the remaining matches of the tournament and I, personally, want to showcase my strength and win the match.

GK #12  HIROSUE Riku (Aomori Yamada High School)
I am very happy that we got the ticket to the World Cup, which was one of the goals of the team. However, we shouldn’t be satisfied here. Instead, we should work hard as a united team and aim to become the champions in Asia. The team have kept the clean sheet in the tournament so far, and we should collaborate our efforts to keep the opponents from scoring in the semifinal and the final and win the championship. After qualifying for the World Cup, I expect the competition for the place in the national team to get tougher, and therefore I need to showcase my strength even more to secure a spot.


AFC U-19 Championship Bahrain 2016
Thu. 13 October PM Training
Fri. 14 October 3-0 vs Yemen (Bahrain National Stadium)
Sat. 15 October AM Training
Sun. 16 October PM Training
Mon. 17 October 0-0 vs Iran (Bahrain National Stadium)
Tue. 18 October AM Training
Wed. 19 October PM Training
Thu. 20 October 3-0 vs Qatar (Bahrain National Stadium)
Fri. 21 October TBC Training
Sat. 22 October 16:00-17:30 Training(Al Ahli Club)
Sun. 23 October 16:00-17:30 Training(Al-Najma Club)
Mon. 24 October 4-0 Quarterfinal vs Republic of Tajikistan
Tue. 25 October TBC Training
Wed. 26 October TBC Training
Thu. 27 October 19:15 Semifinal vs Vietnam
Fri. 28 October TBC Training
Sat. 29 October TBC Training
Sun. 30 October 17:30 Final/Playoff②

*Local Time
*The schedule is subject to change due to the team condition, the weather, etc.
*The Championship's top four ranked teams will then fly the Asian flag at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017. If Korea Republic, the hosting country of 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, advances to the semifinals, the playoff matches will be held deciding the fifth place among the four losing teams in the quarterfinals.

AFC U-19 Championship Bahrain 2016

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