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HOME > National Teams > U-23 2024 > NEWS > 【Match Report】U-23 Japan National Team beat USA 2-0 thanks to goals from Fujio and Hosoya


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【Match Report】U-23 Japan National Team beat USA 2-0 thanks to goals from Fujio and Hosoya

13 June 2024

【Match Report】U-23 Japan National Team beat USA 2-0 thanks to goals from Fujio and Hosoya

On Tuesday 11 June, the U-23 Japan National Team played an international friendly against the U-23 USA National Team, who are gearing up for the Paris Olympics, at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, USA

The team have been training in the USA since Sunday 2 June, and after a closed-door friendly against the U-23 USA National Team on Friday, this was their final match of the tour.

For this match, coach OIWA Go started with KOKUBO Leo Brian (SL Benfica) in goal and a backline of HANDA Riku (Gamba Osaka), NISHIO Ryuya (Cerezo Osaka), TAKAI Kota (Kawasaki Frontale) and OHATA Ayumu (Urawa Red Diamonds). FUJITA Joel Chima (Sint-Truidense VV), YAMAMOTO Rihito (Sint-Truidense VV) and ARAKI Ryotaro (FC Tokyo) started as central midfielders, while SAITO Koki (Sparta Rotterdam) and MITO Shunsuke (Sparta Rotterdam) were deployed on the flanks, with FUJIO Shota (FC Machida Zelvia) playing as a central striker.

Japan were outclassed by the USA 1-4 in their meeting last October, but on this day they were in control from the outset and opened the scoring with a penalty won by Saito that Fujio converted in the sixth minute.

Backed by a strong defence, Japan continued to create chances through short counterattacks orchestrated by Saito and Mito. Despite an injury to Yamamoto in the 25th minute, when he was hit in the face by a close-range shot and had to be replaced by KAWASAKI Sota (Kyoto Sanga FC), Japan dominated the first half.

At the break, Japan brought in fresh legs as HOSOYA Mao (Kashiwa Reysol) and HIRAKAWA Yu (FC Machida Zelvia) came off the bench to replace Fujio and Saito, allowing Japan to continue their aggression against the USA. In the 68th minute, SATO Kein (SV Werder Bremen) was introduced to replace Araki on the left wing, with Hirakawa moving to the right and Mito to the centre. The change paid immediate dividends, as Mito's 69th-minute cross was fumbled by the opposition goalkeeper and Hosoya pounced on the loose ball to double Japan's lead.

With the team remaining focused until the final whistle, Japan won 2-0 to end their final match before the Olympic squad announcement with a convincing victory.

Coach and Players' Comments

OIWA Go, Head Coach of U-23 Japan National Team
These two matches have been fruitful in many ways. It allowed us to go over the team’s tactical and technical aspects, as well as the emotional aspects of the players, and we hope to make most of this experience for our future matches. (Regarding the return of Saito and Mito) I think that level of performance is expected of them, and I think that they have high expectations of themselves as well. Their presence has a positive influence on other players, inspiring them and making the team better. Although we won the game, there were times when we were not at our best, so we have to look at the issues and try to improve on those little things. I made the players play in different positions because we can only take 18 players to the Olympics. They have all played well, so it will be a very difficult selection process.

MF #14 MITO Shunsuke (Sparta Rotterdam/Netherlands)
As a team it was good to win the last game before the Olympics, and as an individual it was good to be involved in the scoring. When I was on the flank, I was told to take on the opposition and move fluidly inside, and when I was inside, I was told how to work with the striker, such as how to receive the ball close to him. (Reflecting on the goal scene) I saw an opening towards the goal as soon as I took my first touch, so my initial thought was to take a shot, but once I realised there was space, I decided to carry the ball further into the box. I wish I could have scored myself, but I am glad it ended up as a goal for us.

MF #18 SAITO Koki (Sparta Rotterdam/Netherlands)
There were moments when I was able to showcase my ability to the fullest, but there were also times when I lacked quality and lost possession. I also felt I needed to be more critical in front of goal, so those are some of the areas I need to improve on ahead of the Olympics. Even if we create chances, it doesn't mean anything if we can't convert them, so that's something we need to improve as a team. I made a conscious effort to pick out Araki when I had the ball and I also made runs when he had the ball. I felt like we were on the same page for the most part, but I think we can still build on what we have at the moment. I will try to improve the quality of my finishing so that I can get more results after getting into the final third.

FW #9 FUJIO Shota (FC Machida Zelvia)
I heard the noise from the crowd when I took the penalty, but it didn't really distract me. This was our last chance to make a statement before the Olympics, so I am happy that we won the game and that I scored a goal, albeit from the penalty spot. (Saito) Koki can carry the ball deep, so I made a conscious effort to lure defenders to the nearside, score when he passes the ball to me or create space for the players behind me. Although I didn't score from those plays, I created some good chances, so I hope to improve the quality of my plays in front of goal.

International Friendly Match

Fixture: vs U-23 USA National Team ※behind closed doors
Date: Fri. 7 June 2024 17:00 (Sat. 8 June 7:00 Japan time)
Venue: Compass Minerals National Performance Center (Kansas City, USA)

Fixture: vs U-23 USA National Team
Date: Tue. 11 June 2024 19:05 (Wed. 12 June 9:05 Japan time)
Venue: Children's Mercy Park (Kansas City, USA)

Match information

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