SAMURAI BLUE hold first training session in Doha
05 September 2021
Ahead of their match against the China PR National Team at the final round of the AFC Asian qualifiers (Road to Qatar), the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) held their first training session in Doha on Saturday 4 September.
After spending most of their time waiting on the test results for COVID-19, the team had to cancel their training session scheduled on the day before.
With the temperature rising as high as 42 degrees Celsius during the daytime in Doha, the temperature was still at 34 degrees with humidity of 85% when the team started training at 18:00. Despite the hot weather, the players were seen working vigorously with minds to redeem themselves from their loss again Oman.
The session started with the entire squad going through light jogs and passing drills to get warmed up. About 30 minutes into the session, eight players who played more than 45 minutes in the previous match went through light menus to recover their conditions, while the rest of the squad, including the goalkeepers, conducted possession drills. The players were then divided into offence and defence, as the offensive players worked on shooting, while the defensive players went through their response to crosses. The session concluded with a five vs five mini-game including the goalkeepers.
The team will hold two more training sessions on the 5th and 6th before facing the China PR National Team on the 7th.
GK #1 KAWASHIMA Eiji (RC Strasbourg/France)
Despite the long travel and quarantine period, I have no issues with my condition. With the loss against Oman, we will be facing an uphill battle from here on. There will be many unexpected happenings throughout the final round, and every team will be entering each match determined to qualify for the World Cup, so despite losing our first match, we must stay focused and give everything we’ve got in the remaining fixtures. Each match is going to have great significance at the final round, so we must not be afraid to take risks, stay aggressive, and try to showcase our best performance both as a team and as individuals. Instead of just reflecting on how we conceded the goal, we need to acknowledge the positives and try to incorporate them into our future matches. It is also important that we make adjustments on the pitch, even when we are struggling to find our rhythm.
DF #3 MUROYA Sei (Hannover 96/Germany)
I am told that China PR has talented players in their offence. It is important that we keep a clean sheet at the final round, so we will try to effectively manage the match. I am fully prepared whenever I am called up to the national team. The team is in a must win situation after losing against Oman. I am here to win, so if I am given the opportunity to play, I will give my best effort to help the team win the match. Despite losing Minamino, we have other players who can fill his shoe. I am sure that we will face many situations like this down the road, so we hope to prove that we can overcome this adversity as a team.
MF #8 HARAGUCHI Genki (1.FC Union Berlin/Germany)
We spent a day in quarantine after arriving in Qatar, but we are used to these types of irregularities, so we’ve been able to spend our time without feeling stressed. I have no excuse for my performance in our match against Oman, and I am just focused on making the necessary adjustments for the upcoming match. There are strategical and physical aspects I need to improve one, but more than anything, I need to have the mental strengths to fight through the pressure surrounding the final round and showcase my determination to qualify for the World Cup. It is hard to explain exactly what I need to do, so I hope to express that through my performance on the pitch. Five years ago, I was playing in the final round thinking, “I want to play in the World Cup,” and “I wonder what it’s like to play in the World Cup.” Even though I have gained so much experience since then, I hope to recall the feelings I had five years ago and try to play with the same type of enthusiasm. I need to convince everyone with my performance. Regardless of what I say in front of my teammates, fans, and the media, it doesn’t mean a thing if I cant perform on the pitch. Mental strength is part of my strong points. It is something that is hard to explain, so I hope to prepare myself so that I can express my strengths through my performance.
FW #15 OSAKO Yuya (Vissel Kobe)
There is no excuse for our loss against Oman. We need to redeem ourselves by showcasing a strong performance, so we will communicate and prepare ourselves to make the necessary adjustments ahead of our next match against China PR. We cannot afford to lose another match, so winning three points is going to be our top priority. Before getting into strategies, we must focus on winning the individual battles. With our backs against the wall, the pressure is rising. Each player must commit themselves to their role and play with the determination to win each match. Most importantly, we must stick together as a team. We haven’t been in these kinds of situations lately, so we hope to prevail at the end.
AFC Asian Qualifiers【Road to Qatar】
Tue. 7 September 2021 [24:00] *Subject to change
SAMURAI BLUE vs China PR National Team
Match venue: Khalifa International Stadium (Doha)
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