【KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2019 Preview】SAMURAI BLUE to face El Salvador for the first time
18 April 2019
On Sunday 9 June, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) will play the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2019 match against the El Salvador National Team at Hitomebore Stadium Miyagi, Miyagi.
Powerhouse from the CONCACAF
As part of the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2019, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) will face El Salvador four days following their match against Trinidad and Tobago. For El Salvador, this match will serve as an important preparation match ahead of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Gold Cup (15 June - 7 July @USA).
El Salvador has played in two FIFA World Cups, Mexico 1970 and Spain 1982, but remains without a win at the tournament. The team failed to advance to the final qualification round for the Russia tournament, as they lost in the fourth round. It is well known that the 1970 tournament has triggered a war between their neighbouring country, Honduras. Despite El Salvador being away from the world’s biggest stage for a while, they have advanced to the quarterfinals in three of the last four CONCACAF Gold Cups, showing their edge over their rivals in CONCACAF.
Climbing up the FIFA rankings with 4 consecutive wins
Ahead of this year’s Gold Cup, El Salvador has shown great form as of late. In the international friendly match against Peru held in Washington on 26 March, the team earned a 2-0 victory over the Peruvian side who consisted nine players who featured last year’s World Cup. Peru was ranked 20th in the FIFA rankings at the time, but El Salvador showed great persistency in defence, while countering with great efficiency. The opening goal came when a long ball delivered from their own end induced an own goal in the 61st minute. The second goal came from a counter attack in the closing minutes of the match. This match represented their fourth consecutive international “A” match victory since November, pushing them up to 71st place in the FIFA rankings updated on 4 April. Young talents have emerged from their squad as the 21 year-old centre half Roberto DOMINGUEZ leads the defence, while Tomas GRANITTO made his national team debut in the match against Peru.
For Coach MORIYASU Hajime and the Japan National Team, this match will serve as their final tune-up session before leaving for the CONMEBOL Copa America Brazil 2019. Following their 0-1 loss to Columbia in the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2019 in March, Coach Moriyasu mentioned, “We need to be able to create more goal scoring opportunities,” while demanding from his squad, “The players need to deepen their mutual understandings to convert goals from our side attacks.” The defensively solid El Salvador team should give Japan a great opportunity to polish up on their combinations. In the match, Japan will not only be asked for results, but positive performance ahead of their first match against Chile at Copa America on 17 June.
SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) vs El Salvador National Team
Match Date: Sun. 9 June 2019 Kick-off 19:00
Match Venue: Hitomebore Stadium Miyagi, Miyagi
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