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The 13th Football Conference held

15 January 2023

The 13th Football Conference held

“The 13th Football Conference” opened on Saturday 14 January. The conference was held over two days in a hybrid format where participants could choose whether to participate in person at Pacifico Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture or online.

The first Football Conference was held in 1998 for coaches across the country who hold a coaching licence certified by Japan Football Association (JFA). Since the second edition, which took place in 2001, the conference has been held every other year. By inviting lecturers from abroad, the conference offers Japanese coaches a unique opportunity to learn about international trends and the activities carried out by each country, in addition to the activities carried out by JFA and the direction in which Japanese football is heading.

Around 500 coaches from all over the country attended the 13th edition of the event in Kanagawa, while about 1,000 participated online. Given that the event took place immediately following the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, various analyses and reports were presented under the theme “FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Technical Report.”

JFA President TASHIMA Kohzo opened the conference with the following words: “We can envision the future because we respect our history and past. This is the 13th Football Conference, and I believe that the success of the national team is linked to the continuation of this event,” stressing the importance of continuity, adding, “With the slogan ‘Through football and sports, we aim to build a happy country and a happy world,’ and we want to make the world a place where children can smile.”

In the “JFA World Cup TSG Report,” KIMURA Yasuhiko, Assistant Director of Coach Education, provided an analysis report on the goal scenes, attacking patterns, defensive tactics, and overall trends of the tournament, before MORIYASU Hajime, Head Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team), and SORIMACHI Yasuharu, JFA Technical Director, took the stage to discuss Japan's performance in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

They presented data and footage on how they prepared for the competition and what they accomplished through the matches. Technical Director Sorimachi pointed out that the team's camp site had been secured prior to qualifying for the World Cup, that the number of medical staff and technical staff in charge of data analysis had been increased, and that drones and carts with video monitors had been implemented. Coach Moriyasu also expressed his gratitude for the support the team received, saying, “Thanks to the additional medical staff, injured players were able to recover and return to full strength more quickly, and the technical staff’s extensive and in-depth data collection allowed us to train with both objective and subjective perspectives. We were able to better prepare thanks to the additional staff.”

Coach Moriyasu also provided further details regarding the team's preparation process from their final group stage match against Spain to the round of 16 match against Croatia, as well as how they made the decision to alter their strategy in their first match against Germany, before concluding with the following words.

“Ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2026™, our first priority is to win the Asian qualifiers, and we want to further brush up and raise the level of our game, while making use of the experience that Japanese football has accumulated over the years. Additionally, I believe we were able to demonstrate to the coaches and the football family through this World Cup that Japan can compete with the rest of the world. I would like to work together with the coaches joining us here to build the future of Japanese football with a higher goal in mind, so please continue to support and fight with us.”

Mr. Andy ROXBURGH, AFC Technical Director, then presented the “AFC World Cup TSG Report,” which summarised the performance of the Asian countries in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, while Mr. Frans HOEK, goalkeeping coach of the Netherlands National Team, gave a presentation titled “Behind the Scenes at the World Cup,” which provided an inside look at the player selection process and tournament preparations of the Netherlands National Team. Mr. Joti CHATZIALEXIOU, Sporting Director of the National Teams, and Mr. Guido STREICHSBIER, Youth Development Director, who joined the conference from the German Football Association, also identified “individual quality,” “balance,” and “competitive edge” as Japan's keys to success in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

The final programme of the first day was called “World Football Forum,” in which Mr. Alberto ZACCHERONI, former Head Coach of the Japan National Team, joined Mr. Roxburgh and Mr. Hoek on stage, while Mr. Arsene WENGER and Mr. Jurgen KLINSMANN also participated online. They discussed the factors that made the difference between success and failure at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, technical and tactical trends, and the coaches who impressed them the most most during the tournament.

The first day of the conference was devoted to a thorough discussion of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, while the second day, on 15 Sunday, featured sessions covering this year's FIFA Women's World Cup™ and the future of Japanese football.

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