SAMURAI BLUE’s Coach Moriyasu to “Showcase what we have been striving for” vs Kyrgyz Republic National Team at KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2018
20 November 2018
On Monday 19 November, Coach MORIYASU Hajime of the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) appeared in an official press-conference held at the match venue, Toyota Stadium, one day before the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2018 match against the Kyrgyz Republic National Team. At the press-conference, the coach shared his aspiration to “Showcase what we are striving for” in their final match of the year against their Asian rival.
With the team given a three-day rest following their match in Oita against the Venezuela National Team, the Japan National Team will now face the Kyrgyz Republic National Team. The match will give them an opportunity to simulate matches against Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, who they will face at the group stage of the AFC Asia Cup this January. It has been nearly a year since Japan faced a team from Asia, and this will be their final friendly match ahead of the Asia Cup. The two teams have never played each other in the past.
Regarding the styles of the Central Asian teams, Coach Moriyasu shared his take, “They tend to build their momentum by attacking the ball aggressively. Each player has great individual skills and their quick attacks are initiated by their solid defence.”
While Japan is ranked 50th in the FIFA rankings, Kyrgyz Republic is ranked 90th. It is thought that the opponents will come up with a plan to play against Japan, but Coach Moriyasu stated, “We will just execute what we have been working on from the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP in September. We will continue to challenge ourselves in the match against Kyrgyz Republic tomorrow.”
With the Asia Cup fast approaching, the match will also serve as a try-out to select the final roster of the tournament. Thus, the coach has mentioned, “We will change the starting line-up dramatically (from their match against Venezuela) to give the opportunity and observe as many players as possible.”
An official training session was held for an hour at Toyota Stadium in the evening, where the session was open to the media for the first 15 minutes. For the exception of TOMIYASU Takehiro (Sint-Truidense V.V.), who is on a separate menu from the team due to an injury in his right knee, the 22 players were seen loosening up by jogging, stretching, core trainings, and passing the ball around.
MORITA Hidemasa (Kawasaki Frontale), who hasn’t featured the line-up since the Costa Rica match in September, shared his aspiration ahead of the match, “We saw that the two-defensive midfielder formation worked well in our match against Venezuela, and this will be our final opportunity to make a case ahead of the Asia Cup. I will give my best to earn results and prove that I belong here.”
The team captain, YOSHIDA Maya (Southampton FC) mentioned, “We will see who will capitalise on this opportunity. In any cases, it will be a positive step for the team.” HARAGUCHI Genki (Hannover 96) stressed the importance of keeping the quality high, regardless of who plays on the pitch, as he stated, “We need to showcase a performance that leaves the coach with a difficult decision to make.”
The Kyrgyz Republic National Team, who will be making their Asia Cup debut in a different group from Japan, has played a training match against Kashima Antlers (0-2) following their arrival to Japan on Friday 16 November. On this day, they also carried their official training session at night.
The visiting team consists with three players who plays in Europe, but besides that, many of the players plays for the domestic club FC Dordoi. Aleksandr KRESTININ, the coach of the Kyrgyz Republic National Team who also takes the helm at Dordoi, stated, “We will be facing a Japanese side who is much higher in the FIFA rankings, and we will be facing them at their home, but we will enter the match with the mentality that we are equivalent teams.”
The match will kick-off at 19:20 at Toyota Stadium in Aichi on Tuesday 20 November.
Coaches and Players’ Comments
MORIYASU Hajime, Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
When facing teams from Asia, we must be aware that our opponents will be taking measures to face us. However, we will stay focused on the things we have been working on since September and keep on challenging ourselves in our match against Kyrgyz Republic and the future matches against our Asian rivals, to showcase what we have been striving for. In order to add layers to the team, we will have as many players involved in the combinations as possible and build a team that has two-teams worth of players available in our options. By deepening the strategical understandings among the players, we can heighten the overall level of the team ahead of the Asia Cup. We have a good balance of players with the veterans allowing the younger players to play up to their full potential. It gives us a sense that we are functioning well as a team.
GK #1 HIGASHIGUCHI Masaaki (Gamba Osaka)
The attacking players of Kyrgyz Republic has great physiques and speed, so we must stay focused against their counter-attacks and set-plays. We will certainly face similar teams at the Asia Cup, so we must defend with great care. How we score goals while taking control of the match will be a key factor in this match.
GK #12 GONDA Shuichi (Sagan Tosu)
With the individuals striving to perform their best football, it allows the entire team to perform well. The Japan National Team consists with great players with tremendous abilities, so there are no guarantees on who gets to play the match. That is why we must always strive to earn a spot in this squad. I will stay focused on giving my very best at all times.
DF #20 MAKINO Tomoaki (Urawa Red Diamonds)
We must focus on keeping a clean sheet, adding layers to our offence, not to level with our opponents in the mental aspect, and to control the match in our favour. As a defender, we must stay vocal when we don’t have the ball and stay alerted to any sort of dangers there may be. The movements off the ball and the creativity when we possess the ball will be the key factors in this match. We will continue to give our best so that the fans of Japan can stay motivated ahead of the Asia Cup.
DF #22 YOSHIDA Maya (Southampton FC)
In a tournament, we may face situations where a player gets suspended or loose a player due to injury. In situations like that, it is ideal if the alternative player can provide an equivalent or even better quality to the team. We must prove to our coach that we all belong here. There are still many aspects we must construct from the backline, but for now, we will prepare in the best way possible ahead of the Asia Cup.
Aleksandr KRESTININ, Coach (Kyrgyz Republic National Team)
Tomorrow’s match will be an important preparation match ahead of the Asia Cup for both teams. While we construct our approach at the tournament, we will also seek for the players who can achieve our goal. Japan has won the Asia Cup in the past and has played in numbers of World Cups. They are the leaders of Asian football, but we will enter the match with the mentality that we are equivalent teams.
|Mon. 12 November||PM||Training|
|Tue. 13 November||PM||Training|
|Wed. 14 November||PM||Training|
|Thu. 15 November||PM||Official Training|
|Fri. 16 November||1-1||KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2018
vs Venezuela National Team (Oita Stadium)
|Sat. 17 November||PM||Training|
|Sun. 18 November||PM||Training|
|Mon. 19 November||PM||Official Training|
|Tue. 20 November||19:20||KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2018
vs Kyrgyz Republic National Team (Toyota Stadium)
*The schedule is subject to change due to the team condition, the weather, etc.
Interview of MUROYA Sei (F.C. Tokyo)
Interview of MAKINO Tomoaki (Urawa Red Diamonds)
Interview of MINAMINO Takumi (FC Red Bull Salzburg/Austria)
Tue. 20 November 19:20 Kick-off
Toyota Stadium, Aichi
SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) vs Kyrgyz Republic National Team
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