SAMURAI BLUE’s Coach Moriyasu seeks for changes after bringing back 6 players from the World Cup squad ahead of October’s KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2018
05 October 2018
On Thursday 4 October, Coach MORIYASU Hajime of the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) announced the Japan National Team squad for the two matches of the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2018, where the team faces the Panama National Team (12 October, Niigata) and the Uruguay National Team (16 October, Saitama). Six players including NAGATOMO Yuto (Galatasaray S.K.) and OSAKO Yuya (Werder Bremen) made their return to the squad since the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
The 23 players selected in this squad also featured those who contributed to the 3-0 victory in the Costa Rica match held this September, such as NAKAJIMA Shoya (Portimonense S.C.), MINAMINO Takumi (FC Red Bull Salzburg), and AOYAMA Toshihiro (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), while the two youngsters, DOAN Ritsu (FC Groningen) and TOMIYASU Takehiro (Sint-Truidense V.V.), who made their national team debut in the recent call-up continued to serve the team.
While 17 players remained in the squad since the September call-up, besides Nagatomo and Osako, YOSHIDA Maya (Southampton FC), SAKAI Hiroki (Olympique de Marseille), HARAGUCHI Genki (Hannover 96), and SHIBASAKI Gaku (Getafe C.F.) were among those who made their return to the squad since the recent World Cup.
Coach Moriyasu, who has been expressing his vision to fusion the young players with the veterans, shared his aspiration, “I’ve always wanted to bring in those players who has excelled at the World Cup. The addition of the veteran players provides us with great experience, and I am looking forward to seeing what kind of chemical reaction it may bring to the team. I hope they can guide the younger players with their words and performances.”
With their match against the Chile National Team, originally scheduled on 7 September being cancelled due to the Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake, this match against the Panama National Team represents the second match under the new regime.
In the FIFA rankings, Panama and Uruguay ranks 70th and 5th respectively while Japan sits at 54th. The two teams made their appearance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia where Panama played in the same group as the semi-finalists Belgium and England, while Uruguay lost to France in the quarterfinals.
When asked about their opponents, Coach Moriyasu stated, “Both teams are powerhouses who played at the recent World Cup. Playing against such strong teams will give us the opportunity to develop and strengthen ourselves. We must focus on what we can do at these matches.”
On Monday 8 October, the team will enter a training camp in Niigata and the head coach of Japan stressed the importance to “Attack as a team and defend as a team.” He continued by saying, “I want my players to showcase their individual strengths while keeping in mind of the team concept.”
A message was delivered from Coach Moriyasu, not only to the supporters of the Japan National Team, but towards all the affected people of the recent natural disasters and everybody involved in the reconstruction efforts all around the nation, “We hope to showcase a performance that can entertain and encourage those people.”
The SAMURAI BLUE’s match against Panama National Team will be held at Denka Big Swan Stadium, Niigata on Friday 12 October, followed by their match against the Uruguay National Team at Saitama Stadium 2002 on Tuesday 16, as both matches are scheduled to kick-off at 19:35.
Comment of MORIYASU Hajime, Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
Through these two matches at Niigata and Saitama, we will be given precious opportunities to build our team. We have many things we’d like to try in these matches, but my main focus is on two aspects. With this being my second match since taking over the team, my emphasis will be on implementing the concept to develop the overall level of the team. The second aspect is to observe where we stand as a team. We have a different group of players since September, so I need to take a close look at the players’ characters and conditions, while checking out how the team is coming along together. By adding the players who has played in the recent World Cup, I am looking forward to seeing what kind of chemical reaction it may bring to the team.
With the veteran players providing great amount of experience to the team, I am looking forward to seeing them guide the younger players with their wisdoms and plays. SHIBASAKI and HARAGUCHI has not been earning playing time at their clubs, but they have been training continuously. I will see how they fit with our team and determine how to utilise them as we monitor their conditions.
Panama and Uruguay are both very strong teams who has participated in the recent World Cup. We must come up with a solid game plan based on our capabilities. Playing against such strong teams will give us the opportunity to develop and strengthen ourselves. While doing so, I will observe and analyse the players’ strengths and conditions to prepare ahead of the AFC Asia Cup in January. I am planning to utilise as many players in these two matches, but it will all depend on the flow of the match. We will keep our options open to respond flexibly to any circumstances.
We hope to showcase an entertaining match for those who attend the match and every supporters of the Japan National Team. Through our performances, we would also like to deliver a message of encouragement to those affected by the recent natural disasters and everybody involved in the reconstruction efforts all around the nation.
|Mon. 8 October||PM||Training|
|Tue. 9 October||17:00||Training (Niigata Athletic Stadium)|
|Wed. 10 October||PM||Training|
|Thu. 11 October||PM||Official-Training|
|Fri. 12 October||19:35||KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2018
vs Panama National Team (Denka Big Swan Stadium)
|Sat. 13 October||11:00||Training (Niigata Athletic Stadium)|
|Sun. 14 October||PM||Training|
|Mon. 15 October||PM||Official-Training|
|Tue. 16 October||19:35||KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2018
vs Uruguay National Team (Saitama Stadium 2002)
*The schedule is subject to change due to the team condition, the weather, etc.
Friday, 12 October 2018 Kick Off at 19:35 (Estimated time)
Niigata／Denka Big Swan Stadium
SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) vs Panama National Team
Tuesday, 16 October 2018 Kick Off at 19:35 (Estimated time)
Saitama／Saitama Stadium 2002
SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) vs Uruguay National Team
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