Seven more players including Yoshida and Itakura report to camp for SAMURAI BLUE
15 November 2022
On Sunday 14 November, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team), who will compete in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, held their fourth training session at their base camp in Doha.
The second batch of players playing abroad arrived in Qatar, as YOSHIDA Maya (FC Schalke 04), ITO Hiroki (VfB Stuttgart), ITAKURA Kou (Borussia MG), ASANO Takuma (VfL Bochum), MAEDA Daizen (Celtic FC), UEDA Ayase (Cercle Brugge KSV), and SCHMIDT Daniel (Sint-Truidense VV) took part in the training session.
The session started with Yoshida, NAGATOMO Yuto (FC Tokyo), and SHIBASAKI Gaku (CD Leganes) leading the warmups, as the players, including the likes of Itakura and Asano who had concerns about their recovery from injuries, worked out in good spirts.
Players who already had trained for the past few days were also seen engaging in the light training session, while GONDA Shuichi (Shimizu S-Pulse) worked with GK Coach SHIMODA Takashi on a one-on-one basis. TOMIYASU Takehiro (Arsenal) and TANAKA Ao (Fortuna Dusseldorf), who are recovering from injuries, continued to train separately with the team, but were seen conducting drills using the ball.
Tomiyasu repeatedly checked his passing and dribbling techniques with a coach, while Tanaka worked on his passing and long balls as both players showed gradual improvements on their conditions. The two were seen working late on the pitch to check each movement one by one.
On this day, children from the Japanese school in Doha came to encourage the team. The players interacted with the children before the training session, where a student representing the group gave the following words to the team, “We believe that you will win make it through” and “Please take the tournament by storm.” A Japanese flag with messages from the children was also presented, which was received by Captain Yoshida on behalf of the team.
During their interaction with the children, the players posed for photos and signed autographs. When practice started, the children shouted words of encouragement from the side-line to cheer on the players.
After practice, Yoshida pointed out the short preparation period of this tournament, saying that his first priority was to recover from the weekend's game. The team captain added, “The time between the league break and the tournament is short, so we need to reassess the team's approach, set-pieces, attacking and defensive plays, and shift our mindsets to national team mode.”
The rest of the team is scheduled to join the training session on Tuesday 15, with the exception of MITOMA Kaoru (Brighton & Hove Albion FC), who is recovering from an illness and the team will play their final training match against Canada on Thursday 17.
GK #23 SCHMIDT Daniel (Sint-Truidense VV/Belgium)
I am thrilled to be here at the World Cup. When I arrived at the airport and the view from the bus on the way to the training ground, I saw the city in World Cup mode, and I was happy because I felt as though I had finally arrived at the stage of my dreams. I have performed well for my club this season and I feel I am in good shape. I know there will be pressure when I get the chance to play, but I will enjoy it as much as possible and even if I don't play, I want to support the team to win. The goalkeepers we will face in the group stage are some of the best in the world, and I think there is a lot to learn from playing against them, so I hope this tournament will help me grow as a player. I think the difficulty of this tournament is that we have only 10 days or so to switch over from the league matches, but I hope that we can enjoy the process as we make the transition.
FP #4 ITAKURA Kou (Borussia MG/Germany)
It was the first time I had injured my knee, so at the moment of the injury I thought I might not be able to make the World Cup, but after being examined and told that I might make it just in time, my goal changed to getting back in shape for the World Cup. The trainer was always available at the JFA office in Dusseldorf, so when I finished my rehabilitation with the team, I went to the office in the afternoon to do more rehabilitation, which was very helpful. I'm grateful to the team for letting me come on in the last five minutes or so in a match where we were winning. That step helped me get in shape for the Germany game, and now that we have more time to train and play a game against Canada, I feel like I can be completely ready for the game against Germany. I think the most important thing is to get my body in the best condition first and work for the team.
FP #18 ASANO Takuma (VfL Bochum/Germany)
My injuries are no longer a problem. I had already joined the team and was ready to play in the last match. But the coach told me that he didn't want me to push myself too hard, so I switched my focus to the national team and was able to practice on my own before coming here. Even after getting injured, I had the feeling that I could get back in good shape before the World Cup, so I did everything I could within my power, including making an appeal that I would be back. I don't know how I will be used, but I can only imagine myself contributing by scoring goals and being the hero. I don’t think I have fully recovered in terms of match fitness, so I want to put everything into the match against Canada, because it's the last chance for me to get into the World Cup in good shape.
FP #21 UEDA Ayase (Cercle Brugge KSV/Belgium)
We will have to monitor our conditions while playing under the heat, work to get the team on the same page, and studying our opponents as we prepare ourselves ahead of the World Cup. We hope we can play at a high intensity level against Canada, which will help us clear up how we want to approach the group stage, so I want to seek how I can be involved and how I can express myself. Although it will be very different (from playing in Belgium), I believe that my condition and overall performance under high intensity have improved since I was in Japan, so I would like to give my best effort to use my traits to the team's tactical advantage.
FP #22 YOSHIDA Maya (FC Schalke 04/Germany)
Our first priority is to recover from the weekend matches, and from there we will prepare for the match against Canada. We will then prepare for our match against Germany based on what we were able to do and what we were not able to do against Canada. For those who have not been playing due to injury, the most important thing is to improve their condition, while the others must focus on getting on the same page with the team, while also reviewing what we had worked on in September. We need to reconfirm how to fight when we are behind, not only against Canada, but we need to start using the time we have to communicate off the pitch. Many players are making their first appearance in the tournament, but Haraguchi and Inui, who scored against Belgium in the last tournament, and Shibasaki, who assisted, were also making their first appearances at the time. I think there is goodness in having players with momentum, so I want to bring that out, but there is also a chance that they could be overly naive, so I want to make sure that we have a solid foundation for them to rely on. I want to make this the best tournament of my career.
FP #26 ITO Hiroki (VfB Stuttgart/Germany)
I am being reminded of the magnitude of the World Cup from the number of media and the reception we received at the airport and hotel. I think the tension will increase as we get closer to the tournament, so I will try to stay relaxed as we prepare for our matches. As a team, we want to share the concept of both offence and defence. Each one of us must study our opponents and focus on what we need to do as a team. I have played as a left-back in June, and I am just focused on doing my best in the position I am assigned to. I want to be proactive in making a positive impact on the team. I want to leave the World Cup with a good result. I want to play with the conviction that this could be my final World Cup, rather than believing I will have another opportunity in four years.
International Friendly Match
Date: Thu. 17 November 2022, 17:40 (22:40 Japan time)
Fixture: SAMURAI BLUE vs Canada National Team
Venue: Al-Maktoum Stadium (United Arab Emirates)
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™
Tournament Dates: Sun. 20 November - Sun. 18 December 2022
1st Match: Wed. 23 November 16:00 [Local Time] vs Germany National Team
2nd Match: Sun. 27 November 13:00 [Local Time] vs Costa Rica National Team
3rd Match: Thu. 1 December 22:00 [Local Time] vs Spain National Team
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