SAMURAI BLUE to face Chile with “Courage and Persistency” at the CONMEBOL Copa America Brazil 2019
17 June 2019
One day ahead of their first match against the Chile National Team at the CONMEBOL Copa America Brazil 2019, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) held an official training session at the match venue, Morumbi Stadium on Sunday 16 June.
The training session was held at one of the largest stadiums in Brazil, where the first 15 minutes was opened to the media.
Prior to the session, coach MORIYASU Hajime and the team captain SHIBASAKI Gaku appeared in an official press conference. When asked about their opponent, Shibasaki described the Chilean side, “They have many veteran players. We must analyse them as a team and give our best efforts as the representative of Japan.” The newly appointed captain continued by sharing his aspiration, “While striving to earn results, we will make this an opportunity to improve ourselves. As a leader, I hope to lead the team towards the right direction.”
With the team winning the title in back-to-back years in 2015 and 2016, the Chile National Team wears the champion’s badge on their jersey. After failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, the defending champions of Copa America has been led by coach Reinaldo RUEDA from 2018.
Ahead of their first match, coach Moriyasu shared his thoughts, “The fact that they have won back-to-back titles at this tournament gives us enough reasons to respect them. We must enter the match with a challenger’s spirit and showcase courage and persistency to strive for victory against a strong opponent.” Chile was supposed to be coach Moriyasu’s first opponent as the manager of the SAMURAI BLUE, as the two sides were scheduled to play each other last September. However, the match was cancelled due to the affects of the Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake. The Japanese coach shared his aspiration ahead of the big match, “It was unfortunate that we couldn’t play them last time, but I am glad to be given another opportunity to face a powerhouse like Chile. We hope to utilise this match to find out where we stand in the current map of football. I want my players to play aggressively tomorrow.”
Coach and Players’ Comments
MORIYASU Hajime, Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
I have watched over many of these players at the U-22 Japan National Team, so they all know the team concept and what they are asked to do. We hope to showcase our full potential at the first match, so that we can make adjustments in the following two matches. We must enter with a challengers’ spirit and fight with courage and persistency to win the match. I believe all of the players in this squad are capable of becoming a regular member of the SAMURAI BLUE, so I want them to play with confidence and prove to me that they belong at this level. We created history by defeating Colombia at the World Cup in Russia. We hope to do the same by earning a victory at this tournament.
MF #7 SHIBASAKI Gaku (Getafe C.F.)
Copa America is one of the most prestigious and competitive tournaments of the world. As seen in yesterday’s match played between Argentina and Colombia, the level of intensity is extremely high. Although we have invited many South American teams to Japan to hold matches at our home, the opportunity to face them at their home is very rare, so we hope to make the most of this experience. Following the World Cup at Russia, we have seen many changes made to our team, and we have travelled with a very young squad for this tournament. The young players are hungry for the opportunities to improve themselves as a player. They will certainly face adversity in a competition of this magnitude, so I hope to provide assistance and guide them towards the right direction. While taking on the leader role of this team, I also hope to test my abilities at the world stage.
MF #11 MIYOSHI Koji (Yokohama F・Marinos)
I have been preparing myself for this tournament since I was in Japan, so I feel like I am in my best condition. This is a wonderful stadium and the pitch condition is great, so it is all up to our performance now. Chile is a powerful team and we don’t want them to pick up their momentum. In an international match like this, it is important that each player focuses on winning the individual battles. We hope to stick as a team and fight as a united team.
FW #9 MAEDA Daizen (Matsumoto Yamaga FC)
This will give us the opportunity to test our strengths against South American opponents, and I am looking forward for the challenge. I don’t want to just make this a fun memory, but rather a learning experience where I can take many things back to improve myself as a player. If we can defend as a team and attack as a team, we can create opportunities. If we don’t score goals, we can’t win matches, so I hope to help the team by scoring goals.
Interview of NAKAYAMA Yuta (PEC Zwolle/Netherlands)
Interview of NAKAJIMA Shoya (Al Duhail SC/Qatar)
Interview of OKAZAKI Shinji (Leicester City Football Club/England)
CONMEBOL Copa America Brazil 2019
Tournament Dates: Fri. 14 June - Sun. 7 July 2019
Tue. 18 June 2019, 8:00 (Japan time)
vs Chile National Team
Fri. 21 June 2019, 8:00 (Japan time)
vs Uruguay National Team
Tue. 25 June 2019, 8:00 (Japan time)
vs Ecuador National Team
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