【Match Report】Japan Futsal National Team defeat Iran in Final to claim fourth Asian title! - AFC Futsal Asian Cup™ Kuwait 2022
09 October 2022
On Saturday 8 October, the Japan Futsal National Team faced the Iran Futsal National Team in the AFC Futsal Asian Cup™ Kuwait 2022 final. Having lost 0-4 to Iran in the final four years ago, Japan fought as a team to win their fourth overall and first AFC title in eight years.
KUROMOTO Guilherme started in goal to replace PIRES Higor, who suffered an injury in the semi-finals against Uzbekistan, while MIZUTANI Soma, OLIVEIRA Arthur, YOSHIKAWA Tomoki, and HIRATA Neto Antonio Masanori featured the starting five.
After a solid start, with both teams focused on defence, Japan created an early chance. In the eighth minute, Oliveira received a pass from Mizutani and fired a shot that struck the left post. Oliveira made another close attempt in the ninth minute, when he took a shot from a free kick, but this time his shot was saved by the goalkeeper.
Iran also created a close opportunity from a set-piece, but Kuromoto made a fine save to put the threat away. However, Iran took the lead in the 15th minute, when Saeid AHMAD ABBASI scored a goal from a counterattack.
Japan responded a minute later, when SHIMIZU Kazuya reacted to a loose ball just outside the penalty arc and struck a right footed shot into the net.
In the second period, it was Iran who took the initiative, creating number of chances to threaten the Japanese goal, but Kuromoto made his presence felt to keep the score tied at 1-1. With their defence holding off the Iranian attacks, Japan took the lead in the 27th minute, when Oliveira delivered a spectacular shot to convert a free kick from distance.
Trailing for the first time in this tournament, Iran increased their intensity level in offence, but led by Kuromoto, Japan made tenacious efforts to keep their one goal lead intact. Shimizu made an attempt to extend the lead in the 34th minute, but his shot was saved by the goalkeeper.
Iran initiated their powerplay in the final five minutes, but Japan managed carry the lead into the last minute, which led to an own goal scored by the Iranian side with 25 seconds remaining on the clock. Despite conceding a goal at the end, Japan won the match 3-2 to claim their fourth overall and first AFC title in eight years.
Coach and Players' Comments
KOGURE Kenichiro, Head Coach (Japan Futsal National Team)
I am delighted to be the Asian Cup Champion, both as a player and as a coach. There is no comparison as to which is more pleasing. However, this victory could not have been achieved by me alone. I think it is the result of the tireless efforts made by all the people who are involved in futsal in various areas, including the F.League, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Of course, I am happy, but my gratitude is stronger.
GK #2 KUROMOTO Guilherme (Tachikawa Athletic FC)
I can't find the words to express how I feel now that we have won the gold medal. We lost our first match in our quest to win the championship, but we always believed in ourselves, never gave up and did the best job we could. All the matches were difficult, but I think we were able to improve through those matches. I feel very happy and blessed. I would like to thank everyone who has supported us. Thank you very much.
FP #5 OLIVEIRA Arthur (Nagoya Oceans)
It's the best feeling. As I was talking to everyone, let's just enjoy the moment. We all knew that Iran was strong. We were under a lot of pressure, but we managed to control the game and get a good result. When I took the free kick, there was only one person standing in front of me and knowing how well this ball bends, I thought I could curve the ball around the wall. I am just really happy right now.
FP #12 HARADA Kokoro (FC Barcelona B)
Everyone was tired today, so I got a lot of action in the attacking end. There were scenes where I managed to dribble past my opponents, but I really wanted to score a goal. The opponent's number 9 is a player who plays in the same Spanish league, but I regret that I chose to pass the ball when we matched up. It feels like the senior players have given me the experience of winning, so next time I want to come back and be the kind of player who can lead the team to victory.
FP #14 UCHIMURA Shunta (Shonan Bellmare)
It is truly the best feeling to win this title. I was worried about my match fitness because I hadn't played much leading up to the final, but I wasn't tired, so I was ready to give it a go. I really got to enjoy the unique away atmosphere. Our opponents had great dribbling skills, consist of strong pivot, and applied aggressive pressure at the end, but we managed to persevere all that to win the title.
YouTube(AFC):#ACFutsal2022 - FINAL | Islamic Republic of Iran 2 - 3 Japan
AFC Futsal Asian Cup™ Kuwait 2022
Tournament Date: Tue. 27 September - Sat. 8 October 2022
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