SAMURAI BLUE to face Uruguay in second match of the CONMEBOL Copa America Brazil 2019
20 June 2019
One day before their match against the Uruguay National Team at the CONMEBOL Copa America Brazil 2019, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) held a training session in Porto Alegre on Wednesday 19 June. Prior to the session, the team held a moment of silence for Mr. KITAYAMA Tomonori (JFA International Committee) who passed away on 18 June, after serving as a conduit between South America and Japan for the past 40 years.
An official press conference was held ahead of the training session at Arena do Gremio, where coach MORIYASU Hajime and vice-captain TOMIYASU Takehiro (Sint-Truidense V.V.) attended. Reflecting on their 0-4 loss to Chile, Tomiyasu mentioned, “Looking back on the match, there were so many things we could have done better. How we make the adjustments from that match is on us.” The Japanese defender continued by stating, “If we play like the way we did against Chile, it will be awfully hard to earn points from Uruguay. Before we talk about tactics, we must strive to win the mental battle against Uruguay and enter the match with a mental advantage over our opponents.”
With the team facing strikers like Luis SUAREZ (FC Barcelona) and Edinson CAVANI (Paris Saint-Germain F.C.), Tomiyasu shared his aspiration, “I personally have entered the tournament with the intention to find out how I can cope against the world’s best strikers. In order to win the battles, I can’t play like I am afraid. We must stick together as a team and work even harder to win the match.” When asked regarding their tactics, he mentioned, “We need to maintain our defence line high while keeping ourselves compact.”
Coach Moriyasu also shared his aspiration ahead of the match against Uruguay, “We are not here just to experience the Copa America. Following our match against Chile, we need to make the adjustments and strive to win our next match.” With the team consisting many young players, it will certainly be a tough task to win the match against the South American powerhouse, but the Japanese general remained unfazed, as he mentioned, “There will be a chance.” The coach continued by stating, “Uruguay will come out to fight for the ball with great intensity, so we must make our decisions quickly and provide support at all times. We must work together to fade the pressure applied by Uruguay and initiate our attacks.”
Uruguay has won their first match 4-0 against Ecuador, and they will enter the next match with a three-day rest. Coach Oscar TABAREZ shared his take on the match, “Japan is a quick team with great endurance. It will be a fast-paced match.” The Uruguayan coach continued by stating, “We respect Japan and the match will certainly be a tough match for us.”
The match between the SAMURAI BLUE and the Uruguay National Team will take place on Thursday 20 June at 20:00 local time (Friday 21 June at 8:00 Japan time).
Coaches and Players' Comments
MORIYASU Hajime, Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
The team will enter the match with a two-day rest, and I am expecting to make changes to the starting line-up, but I will make a late call after observing the conditions of the players. Uruguay is a team that consists world class players in both offence and defence. I want my players to fight for the ball with courage while showcasing their techniques to execute the team strategy. We must make quicker decisions and pick up the speed of play while maintaining the quality of each play.
GK #23 OSAKO Keisuke (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
(Regarding Suarez and Cavani) They are top class players of the world, and capable of taking shots from any direction. We don’t see players like them in Japan, so if I am given the opportunity to play, I will be looking forward to facing them. I am given a wonderful environment to play football and it is allowing me to gain a very productive time.
DF #16 TOMIYASU Takehiro (Sint-Truidense V.V.)
Our ability to predict the next step will play a key role in the match. Suarez is a very clever player who can expose our weak points, so we must focus on not giving away the initiative to our opponents. We must win the mental battle ahead of the match and enter the match with a mental advantage over Uruguay, both as a team and as an individual.
MF #11 MIYOSHI Koji (Yokohama F・Marinos)
Once we are on the pitch, it’s a competition between two teams, so I am not focusing on the individual players. It’s important that we keep our composure in this match.
MF #17 MATSUMOTO Taishi (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
We must focus on our defence, especially after conceding four goals against Chile. We will need to think defence first, as the individual battles to win the ball will play a key role in this match. The two defensive midfielders were forced to drop deep in our match against Chile, causing our offence to be monotonous, so I will focus on keeping my position high to get myself more involved in offence. Even if we are forced to use most of our energy in defence, we still have to push ourselves forward to create opportunities.
Oscar TABAREZ, Coach of Uruguay National Team
We are fully prepared for this match and the team is in great form. However, there is always a sense of anxiety ahead of a match, and we must brace ourselves for any given situation. We lost to Japan last year with a score of 3-4, but we are a different team now. Japan has also altered their squad with many new players, but we have great respect for Japan. There is no guarantee that we will win the match, but we will give our best performance on the pitch.
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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