Coach Moriyasu of SAMURAI BLUE mentions to stick with 3-back formation at the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2019 and to showcase “a better performance than the first match.”
09 June 2019
On Saturday 8 June, coach MORIYASU Hajime of the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) appeared in a press conference ahead of their match against the El Salvador National Team at the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2019. During the press conference held at the match venue, Hitomebore Stadium Miyagi, the coach stated that he will continue to stick with the three-back formation he experimented with in their last match and shared his aspiration to “showcase a better performance than the first match.”
In their first match of this series of the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2019 against the Trinidad and Tobago National Team, coach Moriyasu elected to employ a three-back formation for the first time since taking over the helm last September. Despite seeing the match end in a scoreless draw, the team displayed improvements throughout the match with the newly implemented formation. The coach made it clear that he would like to continue to work with this new formation in order to add more options for the team ahead of the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2022, which will start to take place this September.
Regarding their performance at the first match against Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday 5, coach Moriyasu shared his take, “the players did a great job making adjustments on the field and managed to showcase the big picture of our new option.” The coach continued by stating, “we hope to heighten the quality of our plays in both offence and defence to showcase a better performance than the first match.”
When asked about the starting line-up, the Japanese coach made it clear that there will be rotations from the first match. He mentioned that the 18-year-old phenom, KUBO Takefusa (F.C. Tokyo) will be in the 23-man roster for the match, “after watching him play in the training sessions, he is in good form and clearly has proved his ability through the training sessions. There are plenty of chances he might get involved.”
This will be the first time Japan and El Salvador face each other. In terms of the FIFA rankings, Japan is in 26th, while El Salvador sits at 71st. The Central American side has appeared in two World Cups, in 1970 and 1982, and the team has been in great form as of late. Ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2019, scheduled to take place from Monday 17 June, the team has won a friendly match against Haiti 1-0 at home on Sunday 2 June. El Salvador has also won their match against Jamaica 2-0 at the CONCACAF Nations League qualifiers in March, followed by another friendly match victory against Peru 2-0. With the team carrying a four-match winning streak for the year, many players from their match against Peru has arrived in Japan. Upon their arrival, Mexican coach Carlos de los COBOS stated, “By facing a strong side like Japan, we would like to find out where we currently stand.”
On this day, both teams held an official training session at the match venue, where the first 15 minutes were open to the media. During the session, the Japanese players were seen taking a light jog and stretching their body, before conducting a passing drill to get themselves ready. Once the session went behind closed doors, the team went through tactical drills to go over their strategy for the match.
Midfielder KAGAWA Shinji (Besiktas J.K.) trained separately from the team with a discomfort in his groin, and coach Moriyasu stated that he will be missing the match. Also, defender MAKINO Tomoaki (Urawa Red Diamonds) left the team with a sore neck. After returning to the national team for the first time in four years, NAGAI Kensuke (F.C. Tokyo) shared his aspiration, “If we can exhaust the opponents during the first half, we’ll see more opportunities created in the second half. I will showcase my pest performance and give my utmost efforts to help out the team.”
The SAMURAI BLUE will face the El Salvador National Team at Hitomebore Stadium Miyagi on Sunday 9 June, with a kick-off time of 19:00.
Coaches and Players' Comments
MORIYASU Hajime, Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
The match against El Salvador will serve as a very important training match for us. We will challenge many new things while working together as a team to give our players and the team the opportunity to improve through this match. We will give our utmost efforts to win the match and make our supporters happy. We also hope to give courage to those who are still affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, and cheer on the people working tirelessly for the reconstruction efforts of the area. We employed the three-back formation for the first time in our last match, but the players did a great job making adjustments on the field and managed to showcase the big picture of our new option, so we hope to heighten the quality of our plays in both offence and defence to showcase a better performance than the first match. We want our players to comprehend the new system so that we can incorporate the formation as one of our options while fighting through the World Cup qualifiers. El Salvador is a team with great techniques and strengths. Many of their players plays for teams in their domestic league, and they are capable of utilising their strong points to showcase a very collective and organised performance as a team. The match will be similar to our first match, and we must stay flexible to make necessary adjustments on the pitch.
DF #4 YAMANAKA Ryosuke (Urawa Red Diamonds)
I am playing as a wingback with the Reds, so I am not worried about my position. In order to create the difference in offence, we must find ways to break through the flanks with our individual efforts. I was watching the first match thinking that we need to create more opportunities from the flanks, so I hope to make more runs to exploit the space behind the opponents.
DF #16 TOMIYASU Takehiro (Sint-Truidense V.V.)
After playing the first match, we had to make adjustments on where we receive the ball in offence and how to carry the ball upfront. We have been communicating very well in defence, so we didn’t have to make big changes, but rather build on what we have been doing well. I personally felt the need to improve my approach to utilise the flanks more effectively.
DF #19 SAKAI Hiroki (Olympique de Marseille)
We need to make our decisions on the field and determine either we want to commit ourselves in offence or defence, according to the flow of the game. If we can all stay on the same page, we should be able to make the adjustments smoothly. We weren’t able to finish the match the way we wanted in our first match, so we will do our best to win the match tomorrow.
MF #9 MINAMINO Takumi (FC Red Bull Salzburg)
If I am given the opportunity to play as an offensive midfielder, I will try to keep a good distance with the other three attacking players. Whether or not we can exploit the space between the opponent’s defensive midfielders and the centre halves may play a key role in tomorrow’s match, so I will keep in mind to penetrate that space. We have many talented players, so regardless of who is on the pitch, it’s easy to make the adjustment. We hope to showcase a good performance by allowing each other to utilise their strengths.
MF #21 DOAN Ritsu (FC Groningen)
From the result of our first match, it’s obvious that we lacked quality in our plays at the final third. We must stay eager to earn results and play to win the match. The three attacking players must work together closely to create opportunities, and I must get myself involved in our attacking plays more frequently.
FW #13 NAGAI Kensuke (F.C. Tokyo)
I am aware that I am called to the team to add a unique value, so I hope to showcase my strengths by exploiting the space behind the opponent’s defence line and create opportunities for the team. It’s been a while since getting called up to the national team, so I am getting so much inspiration and feeling very excited to be here. I will give my best efforts to help out the team.
Carlos de los COBOS, Coach of El Salvador National Team
Japan is one of the strongest teams in Asia, and many of their players are playing for strong clubs in the world. The team consists with many experienced players with great talent. I want my players to fight with confidence when facing a powerhouse like Japan and showcase a positive performance that can lead to a positive result. We hope to showcase a wonderful match that can entertain the crowd.
Press conference with Coach Moriyasu Hajime
Press conference with Coach Carlos de los Cobos
Interview with DOAN Ritsu (FC Groningen/Netherlands)
Interview with NAGAI Kensuke (F.C. Tokyo)
Interview with MINAMINO Takumi (FC Red Bull Salzburg/Austria)
SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) vs El Salvador National Team
Match Date: Sun. 9 June 2019 Kick-off 19:00
Venue: Hitomebore Stadium Miyagi, Miyagi
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