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U-20 Japan National Team starts activities ahead of FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 – Okinawa/ Miyazaki Training Camp

30 January 2019

U-20 Japan National Team starts activities ahead of FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 – Okinawa/ Miyazaki Training Camp

U-20 Japan National Team vs Okinawa SV
Mon. 28 January 2019 Kick-off 14:30 Match Duration 70mins (35mins×2)
Koganemori Park Athletics Field, Shimajiri, Okinawa

U-20 Japan National Team 4-1 (0-1, 4-0) Okinawa SV

11' goal against (Okinawa SV)
39' TAGAWA Kyosuke (U-20 Japan National Team)
42' NAKAMURA Keito (U-20 Japan National Team)
49' HARA Taichi (U-20 Japan National Team)
69' TAGAWA Kyosuke (U-20 Japan National Team)

Starting Line-up
GK: TANI Kosei

FW: TAGAWA Kyosuke

53' NAKAMURA Keito → YAMAGUCHI Tatsuya
*Unlimited Substitutions

Match Report

After earning their ticket into the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 through the intense competitions at the AFC U-19 Championship Indonesia 2018 last October, the U-20 Japan National Team started its activities with their eyes set on the major tournament in May. With the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) on the brink of earning yet another Asian Cup title, the U-20 Japan National Team players are getting great inspiration from the nation’s top team.

As a new attempt conducted by the national team of the under-age category, players belonging to teams training at Okinawa, Kagoshima, and Miyazaki prefectures in preparation for the J. League were gathered to conduct a training match at both Okinawa and Miyazaki. The training camp in Okinawa was launched first as the players were gathered at a hotel in Naha city, on Tuesday 29 January. Coach KAGEYAMA Masanaga stated the followings to start up their camp, “The stage is set for you to excel at the world level in May, when the FIFA U-20 World Cup kicks off. We have very limited opportunities to hold camps like this. With many of our players traveling abroad with their clubs, we were not able to gather all the players we wanted. But I want you all to showcase and utilise what we have learned from our Brazil tour and strive for an even higher level. We have players making their first callup to the team and although it may be difficult to display a performance with perfect cohesion, let’s still try to strive for a similar level from the Brazil tour by going over the films.” The team soon arrived at the training ground where they conducted a 35 minute-half training match against Okinawa SV.

The match started with both sides aggressively creating chances to take the initiative. However, the newly gathered U-20 Japan National Team struggled to combine with their new teammates as they conceded the opening goal to the local club in the 11th minute. After giving up the first goal, the national side gradually found their composure as their two forwards, SAKURAGAWA Soromon and HARA Taichi started to combine with each other to create opportunities. In the 26th minute, Sakuragawa delivered a superb cross that found Hara in the box, but their attempt was blocked by a tenacious effort showcased by the opposing defender. Another opportunity came towards the U-20 side in the 34th minute, when NAKAMURA Keito received the ball from Sakuragawa and struck a shot, but his effort was blocked by the goalkeeper. The first half ended with Okinawa SV leading the U-20 Japan National Team by one goal, but the national side rallied back in the second half. Two changes were made during halftime, as forward TAGAWA Kyosuke and defender OGIWARA Takuya was brought into the match. Despite seeing Sakuragawa being denied in a one-on-one situation against the opposing goalkeeper in the early minutes, the equaliser came in the 39th minute, when Nakamura and HIRAKAWA Rei combined with each other to break through the right flank. The cross delivered by Hirakawa found Tagawa in the box, who struck a header into the goal to level the match. With momentum on their side, the U-20 side took the lead in the 42nd minute, when Nakamura broke away two defenders before slotting the ball into the net. Hara followed in the 49th minute to extend the lead with a left footed shot. In contrast to the first half, the U-20 Japan National Team showed great composure in defence as HASHIOKA Daiki led the line. Tagawa and Hirakawa kept on creating close opportunities in the remaining minutes, and Tagawa capped off the match with a header to give his side a 4-1 victory in the training match.

Despite having no official trainings as a team, the players showcased a great performance and understanding of the team concept during the match. With this match, the Okinawa training camp concluded, while the Miyazaki training camp will take place on Friday 1 February, where a training match will be conducted with players who are involved in club camps held in Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures.

Players' Comments

DF HASHIOKA Daiki (Urawa Reds)
In today’s match, we managed to create good opportunities upfront, but failed to convert them in the early minutes of the match. While we struggled to capitalise, our opponents exploited our mistake to capture the opening goal. When looking ahead on the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019, that was a such crucial mistake, but we still managed to make the adjustments in the second half and came back by scoring four goals. We are showing better understandings as a team and saw many opportunities created in the right side as we combined well with each other there, but we still need to heighten the quality of our plays at the final third. My club has provided an excellent environment for me to conduct quality trainings. Through the physical trainings and training matches, I have been able to heighten my fitness level. Our time is limited before the FIFA U-20 World Cup, so I hope to improve as a player at my club and showcase a new version of myself at the national team.

MF NAKAMURA Keito (Gamba Osaka)
Compared to our usual national team tours, this was a one-day event where we entered the match with players we’ve never played before. Although we struggled in the first half, we managed to make the adjustments in the second half, and that is a key aspect that will help us at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019. Our opponents will come out with great aggression at the World Cup, so our ability to make the adjustments on the pitch will be tested and that’s a quality we need to keep on polishing. I will compete hard at my club to earn a regular starting position and enter the FIFA U-20 World Cup in good condition.

FW HARA Taichi (F.C. Tokyo)
Although we had to play with many players we have never played with before, we still managed to communicate and enjoy ourselves on the pitch. I am glad I was able to get myself involved in our team’s goals, I still felt the need to heighten the qualities of my plays in order to succeed at the world stage. I hope to continue on what I did well today and continue to strive for higher goals. I will give my best at my club so that I can get called up to the final squad of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019.

Tue. 29 January / Okinawa Schedule

Tue. 29 January 4-1 Training Match vs Okinawa SV
(Koganemori Park Athletics Field)

Fri. 1 February / Miyazaki Schedule

Fri. 1 February 14:00 Training Match vs Tegevajaro Miyazaki
(Shimizudai Total Park Field B)
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