SAMURAI BLUE hold training session behind closed doors ahead of friendly against Canada
16 November 2022
On Tuesday 15 November, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team), who will take part in the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, held a training session behind closed doors ahead of Thursday’s friendly match against Canada.
With seven more players arriving from Europe - KAMADA Daichi (Eintracht Frankfurt), DOAN Ritsu (SC Freiburg), KAWASHIMA Eiji (RC Strasbourg), MINAMINO Takumi (AS Monaco), MORITA Hidemasa (Sporting CP), ENDO Wataru (VfB Stuttgart), and ITO Junya (Stade de Reims) - the team now has 25 out of the 26 players reported to their base camp in Doha. They are now just waiting for the arrival of MITOMA Kaoru (Brighton & Hove Albion FC), who will join them as soon as he recovers from his illness.
The fifth training session held in Doha was held behind closed doors except for the first 15 minutes, where the players were seen going through their warmup routines before moving onto a passing drill in which the three goalkeepers, Kawashima, SCHMIDT Daniel (Sint-Truidense VV), and GONDA Shuichi (Shimizu S-Pulse) were also involved. TOMIYASU Takehiro (Arsenal) and TANAKA Ao (Fortuna Dusseldorf), who trained separately from the team, were also spotted training with the rest of the members.
However, after being diagnosed with a concussion in a match at his club, Endo underwent a recovery programme, which included indoor bike training and light running on the field. Morita also experienced discomfort in his left calf and went on a separate menu as a precaution.
This was the first training session in Doha for the third group of players arriving from Europe, and in order to lessen the disparities in physical condition between the players, the length and intensity of the training were adjusted in accordance with the amount of playing time at their clubs.
“I feel really good about my current form. I'm hoping I can make the most of the remaining time before the tournament by improving my condition even more. I want to do the best I can because this is my first World Cup,” said Minamino, expressing his enthusiasm for the competition.
Also on this day, the team attended the “New Scenery 2022 SAMURAI BLUE Send-off Ceremony” held in Tokyo, to deliver their enthusiasm and aspirations for the tournament online.
At the ceremony, Head Coach MORIYASU Hajime shared his aspiration for the World Cup, “We owe a debt of gratitude to all of the players, staff, and fans who helped make our participation in the World Cup possible. The staff and players have been working hard to prepare and overcome many challenges. In order to win the match against Germany, we will make the most of the time we have to prepare ourselves.”
Team captain YOSHIDA Maya (FC Schalke 04) followed by commenting, “We would like to play the game with passion that will excite our fans. We will do our best to create a new chapter in Japanese football history.”
Japan will play Germany on Wednesday 23 November, Costa Rica on Sunday 27 November and Spain on Thursday 1 December in Group E.
Ahead of the friendly against Canada, the team will travel to Dubai on Wednesday 16, where they will conduct an official training session and press conference at the match venue. The match between the SAMURAI BLUE and Canada will take place on Thursday 17 at 17:40 (22:40 Japan time).
GK #1 KAWASHIMA Eiji (RC Strasbourg/France)
The atmosphere here really reminds us that the World Cup has finally arrived. We have limited time before the matches, so we must make the most of the remaining time to prepare ourselves, both as a team and as individuals. I think the approach to the game is completely different from past competitions because of this short preparation time. Although we may be able to correct some of the details of our game, I think it's more about whether we can prepare to show what we have built up to this point. The pressure will be mounting regardless, so it's important to relax when we can, and it's also very important to be united as a team as we head into each match. We have established a solid foundation over the past four years, and I hope that all players, whether they play or not, can cooperate to achieve the same goal. Because the World Cup is being held in the middle of the season, many countries are dealing with numerous injuries. Because of this, I think the team that can perform well no matter who is on the pitch will have an advantage in this tournament. This is something we need to keep in mind as we enter the competition.
FP #6 ENDO Wataru (VfB Stuttgart/Germany)
I am feeling much better. I am not being overly pessimistic because I just need to rest for now and prepare a little bit at a time. Just being here makes me happy, and now that I am at the World Cup, I believe that the switch will eventually turn on by itself. I believe that if I resume practicing and playing football, I'll be back in good shape and the switch will gradually turn on. It is normal for us players to deal with some kind of an injury over the course of a season, and from the players' perspective, we just need to take the same approach, whether it is for the league or the World Cup. Each player must prepare for the first match in the best way possible. I think the match against Canada will give us an opportunity to try out different players and maybe even seek for new options ahead of the tournament.
FP #8 DOAN Ritsu (SC Freiburg/Germany)
I think my condition is getting better and the fact that I have been playing in a competitive environment has given me a boost to my confidence. In the last six months or so, I’ve been able to maintain a high intensity for the entire 90 minutes and I’m gradually getting more consistent with my performances, including my defence. I just hope to produce more results, but I also believe that the numbers will follow if I keep performing like this. When I was younger, I often just went with the flow and hit a lot of obstacles, which hindered me from getting selected into the national team. But now that I'm here, I'm proud of myself for having overcome those obstacles. In my current form, I am confident in saying that I am a better option than other players, and I believe this is because I have overcome so much, which has allowed me to grow both mentally and physically. The match against Canada will be our final opportunity to make adjustments. We need to get ourselves on the same page and those who haven’t played in recent matches should get some playing time to improve their match fitness.
FP #10 MINAMINO Takumi (AS Monaco/France)
Playing in the World Cup has been my childhood dream, so I am thrilled to be here. I feel really good about my current form. I'm hoping I can make the most of the remaining time before the tournament by improving my condition even more. I think my body is adapting and getting used to the changes in the environment, as we train day by day. I think I am getting a better sense of what I need to do in order to demonstrate my strengths in a match. When I am playing well, I feel that there is a sense of dynamism to my play, which was something I was getting, so that is a good sign for me. Also, because it is a short-term battle, we need to forget about the negative factors, including injuries, and play with a sense that we have nothing to lose. It's my first World Cup and I want to do the best I can. I will approach each match visualising the best possible result.
FP #13 MORITA Hidemasa (Sporting CP/Portugal)
I want to get myself back to my best condition by the time of the tournament. With the match against Canada being our final prep-match, I am sure each player will have their own take on the match, but I think it is important that we all strive to fulfil our duties assigned by the coach. We must be on the same page in terms of our defensive approach, including the bench, and it is important that we show our intention to take the initiative by winning the ball. It is tough when we have several injured players in the same position, and I am aware that I am causing trouble for my teammates, so I really want to get back in full condition as soon as possible.
FP #14 ITO Junya (Stade de Reims/France)
When I arrived here, I though to myself, “I am finally here.” It all happened so fast, but I am glad I made it this far. I want to think of this as a starting point. My club and the national team play differently, so it’s important to reset my mind, but in terms of match fitness, I am in good condition, so I don’t think I will have any issues there. I hope to get back to full fitness in a week. (Since returning to the line-up from a suspension) I have been back to my original position and getting good results, so I think I am in a positive mindset right now. There is not much time left before the tournament, and although we have one more match left to play, everyone is in different conditions, and we don't know who will be playing. No matter who plays, what we do as a team won't change, so I want to make sure I’m ready whether I play or not.
FP #15 KAMADA Daichi (Eintracht Frankfurt/Germany)
I have confidence in what I've done so far, and I think I'm in good shape, so I hope I can perform as usual without being overwhelmed. My goal is to become a midfielder who can score goals, and although I am nowhere near the top players in the world, I think I am scoring a lot of goals for a midfielder. I am confident in my ability to convert chances, so I hope I can continue to demonstrate my abilities on the pitch. In the national team, there are many players who can create chances from the flanks, so I need to make the most of them in order to bring the best out of myself. Because I am closer to the goal when playing as an attacking midfielder, I can focus more on attacking rather than defending, which allows me to make more sprints up front. I can’t make any comparison because this is my first time playing in the World Cup, but I don’t like having a prolonged preparation period. Considering that we have made it this far in good shape, I don’t see why it’s a problem to play the matches right away.
FP #25 MAEDA Daizen (Celtic FC/Scotland)
I got to experience the world level at the Champions League before the World Cup, so even though we couldn't win, I think I gained a lot from it. I would like to give back the experience I gained there in this World Cup. It was Celtic who couldn't capitalise on their chances, and the other team did. I don't think we will have many chances at the World Cup, but we need to seize every opportunity to win. I had the impression that the opponents didn't like our pressing (from the front line) in the Champions League, and we created some chances with it, so I hope I can continue this at the World Cup. If I work hard and score goals, it will help the team a lot, so I want to be ready to give my all. The match against Canada is a friendly match, but we want to play with the World Cup in mind.
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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