SAMURAI BLUE to start in March 2023, Nadeshiko Japan to compete in FIFA Women's World Cup™ in July
24 December 2022
On Friday 23 December, JFA released the 2023 annual schedule for each category of the Japan National Team. The SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team), who finished in the top 16 at this year’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, will start in March, while the Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team), who will be competing in the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ in July, will start their campaign with an international tournament in February.
After finishing in the top 16 for the second consecutive time at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, which ended on the 18 December, the SAMURAI BLUE will resume its activities when they take part in the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2023 in March.
The team is scheduled to play 10 matches in 2023, including the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2026™ AFC qualifiers, which will also serve as the AFC Asian Cup 2027 qualifier, in November.
The KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2023 will feature four international friendlies, at Japan National Stadium in Tokyo on Thursday 23 March, Yodoko Sakura Stadium in Osaka on Tuesday 28 March, Toyota Stadium in Aichi on Thursday 15 June, and Panasonic Stadium Suita in Osaka on Tuesday 20 June.
The team is scheduled to travel abroad in September, where they will play two matches, while back at home, two international friendlies are planned for Thursday 12 and Tuesday 17 October at Denka Big Swan Stadium in Niigata and Noevir Stadium Kobe in Hyogo, respectively.
The AFC qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup™, which will be co-hosted by Canada, USA, and Mexico in 2026, will begin with a home match played in Osaka on Thursday 16 November, followed by an away match played on Tuesday 21 November.
A training camp is also planned for December. According to JFA Technical Director SORIMACHI Yasuharu, who attended the press conference, this will serve as a preparation period for the AFC Asian Cup, which could be held in January 2024.
Technical Director Sorimachi said that “depending on the schedule of the Asian Cup, there is a possibility that the camp could carry over into the next year,” and added that the head coach of the senior national team, “will be announced as soon as possible.”
Regarding the match opponents, the Technical Director mentioned, “We are ranked 20th in the FIFA rankings. We can benefit greatly from playing stronger opponents, so we would like to challenge higher-ranked teams as much as we can,” while also commenting on the increase in domestic matches, “We are keen to amplify the enthusiasm we have built at the World Cup and demonstrate our gratitude for all the support we received from our fans and supporters in Japan.”
Meanwhile, Chairman SASAKI Norio of the JFA Women's Committee said he was greatly inspired by the achievements of SAMURAI BLUE and shared his aspiration ahead of the Women’s World Cup year, saying, “We will strengthen the team and try to deliver as much power as the men’s team did.”
In preparation for the FIFA Women's World Cup™, which starts on Thursday 20 July, the Nadeshiko Japan will begin its activities in February. The team will participate in the SheBelieves Cup in the USA from Thursday 16 to Wednesday 22 February, where they will play against Brazil, USA, and Canada. Following an international tour in April, where they will play two matches, the team will play their final international friendly match ahead of the World Cup at the MS&AD Cup 2023 on Friday 14 July at Yurtec Stadium Sendai in Miyagi.
Even after the World Cup in July/August, the Nadeshiko Japan will be crowded with important competitions next year.
On Saturday 23 September, the team will play an international friendly at Kitakyushu Stadium in Fukuoka and participate in the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 to be held in China PR from Saturday 23 September to Sunday 8 October. Then, from Monday 23 October, the second round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris will begin. The busy year will conclude with an overseas tour from Monday 27 November to Thursday 7 December.
Chairman Sasaki said, “For the Asian Games in September, we want to aim to win the title with a different squad from the Olympic qualifiers,” expressing his desire to form a new team to expand the player pool.
In the women's under-category, the U-19 Women’s Japan National Team will participate in an international tournament in France in May, while the U-16 Women’s Japan National Team will take part in the Montaigu Tournament in France in April.
U-22 Japan National Team to compete in the Olympic qualifiers in September
As with the Nadeshiko Japan, the U-22 Japan National Team will also be competing to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. From Monday 4 to Tuesday 12 September, they will play in the AFC U23 Asian Cup 2024™ qualifier, which will serve as the Olympic qualifier.
The team will start its 2023 campaign with an overseas tour from Monday 20 March, followed by a domestic training camp scheduled to be held in April, before going on another overseas tour in June.
The U-22 side will also compete in the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022, which will take place from Saturday 23 September to Sunday 8 October. The team’s third overseas tour of the year will start immediately after the Asian Games on Monday 9 October. Following an international friendly played at IAI Stadium Nihondaira in Shizuoka on Saturday 18 November, the team will conclude the year with a domestic training camp in December.
In addition, the U-20 Japan National Team and the U-17 Japan National Team will each compete in the FIFA World Cup™ this year. The U-20 Japan National Team will play in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Indonesia 2023™ starting on Saturday 20 May, while the U-17 Japan National Team will play in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru 2023™ starting on Friday 10 November.
Both teams will also be competing in the Asian Cup next year, meaning they will face two major competitions in one year. The U-20 Japan National Team will play in the AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023™ from Wednesday 1 March, while the U-17 Japan National Team will play in the AFC U17 Asian Cup 2023™ from Wednesday 3 May.
The Japan Futsal National Team has two major events coming up in the second half of next year. The first is the AFC Futsal Asian Cup 2024 qualifiers, with the first round taking place from Monday 25 September to Wednesday 11 October, and the second is the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Thailand, starting Monday 13 November.
The Japan Beach Soccer National Team will also compete in the AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup Thailand 2023 from Thursday 16 March and the ANOC World Beach Games in Indonesia from Wednesday 2 August. The Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup 2023 and the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2023™, which will both be held in the UAE, are also coming up in the second half of the year.
The FIFAe Nations Cup™ scheduled for June and July is the main target for the Japan eNational Team in 2023, and matches are scheduled almost every month from January.
Further details on the opponents and the location of the tournaments will be announced in due course.
SORIMACHI Yasuharu, JFA Technical Director
Now that the World Cup is over, we must concentrate on the subsequent phase. Sadly, we were unable to achieve new heights at this World Cup, but our nation will treasure the comeback victories over World Cup winners Germany and Spain. We will not rest on our laurels and will work even harder from here. This World Cup has brought both smiles and tears, but we will do our best to bring more smiles in the future. We would like to thank you all for your support. Thank you very much. We are ranked 20th in the FIFA rankings. We can benefit greatly from playing stronger opponents, so we would like to challenge higher-ranked teams as much as we can. Since the Asian Games will take place outside of the international week set by FIFA, we are considering players who are not involved in the overseas tours prior to the event. The players of this generation can improve rapidly over the course of a year. We will select the best team possible to win a medal, which I believe will help raise the overall level of the Olympic team and the SAMURAI BLUE.
SASAKI Norio, Chairman of JFA Women's Committee
While the SAMURAI BLUE brought us energy, courage, and inspiration at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, the Nadeshiko Japan will now play in the Women's World Cup held in New Zealand and Australia next year. We will strengthen the team and try to deliver as much power as the men’s team did. Next year is going to be a very important year for the Nadeshiko Japan. After the World Cup we have the qualifiers for the Paris Olympics, so we'll have to shift our focus towards qualifying for the Summer Olympics. We have a tight schedule in November and December, but we would like to communicate with the WE League and use the international week to strengthen our team. We feel that we have learned a lot from the Men's World Cup, including the way SAMURAI BLUE played. Our objective is to advance to the Women's World Cup semi-finals, and we are working to achieve that goal. We will be playing against very strong opponents in the cup competition in February, so we want to enter as if it is the World Cup and strive to earn points there. We want to convey the great enthusiasm for football that the men's team have created for us.
KITAZAWA Tsuyoshi, Chairman of JFA Futsal Committee
The Japan Futsal National Team's target for 2023 is the AFC Asian Cup regional qualifiers in September and the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in November. We are planning to play international friendlies and tours abroad to gain experience and use new players to broaden our player pool. This year we were able to win the Asian Cup. With a fusion of generations, including 11 players with no international experience, we are finally able to build a team that makes the most of a wide range of generations. We hope to build the team next year with the aim of reaching the top eight at the 2024 World Cup. The U-19 Japan Futsal National Team has been less active because the Asian qualifiers are still up in the air due to the pandemic, but we would like to gather ideas to keep the team active. Each year we see many players of the U-19 category getting promoted to the senior side, so we would like to strengthen them by using a wide range of instructors and other resources with the aim of winning the World Cup in 2036.
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