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HOME > National Teams > NEWS > SAMURAI BLUE arrive in Muscat, start training


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SAMURAI BLUE arrive in Muscat, start training

06 October 2015

SAMURAI BLUE arrive in Muscat, start training

After their arrival in Oman on 5 October, SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) had light training in the evening in the Oman capital Muscat, the host city of Japan’s fourth match against Syria in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2.

After the departure from Japan on the evening of 4th, their connecting flight was delayed for the trip between Dubai and Muscat. The players looked a bit tired when arriving in Muscat, but in the evening training session, they seemed cheerful and relaxed.

Except for midfielder HONDA Keisuke (AC Milan) and forward MINAMINO Takumi (Salzburg), who join the team one day late due to their respective club matter, 21 men began a running workout after listening to Coach Vahid HALILHODZIC's talk. The squad spent time recovering from fatigue with light workouts including fitness training and passing drills in two groups with goalkeepers.

In the Asian Qualifiers Round 2, which got underway in June this year, Syria stand at the top spot in Group E, earning nine points with three wins in three matches so far. Japan trail the leaders by two points, standing at second place with seven points (two wins and one tie).

Although the fixture of this qualifying round was set to take place in a neutral country Oman due to Syria's domestic condition, Oman's neighbour Syria have had a camp there since last week, utilising the locational advantage. The climate of Muscat is very harsh with the heat and humidity as the temperature goes up to around 40 degrees in the daytime and remains around 35 degrees in the evening.

Adjusting to the heat is likely to be a key element for the Japanese squad, yet midfielder YAMAGUCHI Hotaru (Cerezo Osaka) is not unfazed. "We got used to the cool weather in Japan, so that make it feel hot here. But we still have two more days until the match. I believe we can adjust to it."

Borussia Dortmund midfielder KAGAWA Shinji is wary of Syria, saying "Syria are tough opponents. There is no match we can win easily. We will try to be aware of how they attack." He adds, "We need to keep executing (our way of attacking) so that we can find a gap (in their defence). The point is how we can get through that gap, and we will try that out, seeing the flow of the game."

"We travelled through the night so I could have some sleep," says forward USAMI Takashi (Gamba Osaka). He also shows his enthusiasm, "The Syria match is decisive for the fate of our campaign. We will try to win."

On the same day, the children and their families from Oman's Japanese association visited SAMURAI BLUE's practice. Before it started, they had a photo session on the pitch with the squad, Halilhodzic and coaches. The children were also given a gift by the players.

The match against Syria will be held in a neutral place Muscat, Oman due to the unstable situation in Syria. The contest will kick off at 5:00 p.m. (10:00 p.m. Japan time) on 8 October.

Players' Comments

MF   YAMAGUCHI Hotaru (Cerezo Osaka)
Our coach said, "The next one will be very important. We must win." We may have more time allowing the opponents to attack compared to those who we faced in the past. 

But we will try to defend well and move on to attacking. The more aggressively the opponents come, the easier we can take advantage of our strength. I want to contribute to the team in that regard. We would be in a tough situation with a draw or loss. Winning is required. We will definitely put up a good result.

DF   SHIOTANI Tsukasa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
Our coach said, "I'm planning to play you at full-back." We need to play hard on the ball in Asian competitions. I've played how I have been supposed to play with Hiroshima, and there are a lot of times I actively go up on offence. He's been watching what I do in the J. League.

At the full-back position, you face offensive players a lot of times. I will try to force them not to face forward and also try not to leave them unmarked. I will also keep in mind the way to put pressure to win the ball.

FW   MUTO Yoshinori (1.FSV Mainz 05)
I'm not sure if there are lots of chances but I will try to be focused to convert such chances. My playing style to find space behind the defensive line and work hard both on offence and defence is even getting better with Mainz. I'd like to capitalise on it with the national team as well.

As I'm selected for the same position as Okazaki, I can't settle for the second best. I want to threaten the No.1 position, and I think the team can be more competitive with players of lower levels threatening the more experienced players as well.

JFA-TV (Japanese version only)

  • Interview - KAGAWA Shinji (Borussia Dortmund/Germany)

  • Interview - YAMAGUCHI Hotaru (Cerezo Osaka)

  • Interview - MUTO Yoshinori (1.FSV Mainz 05/Germany)


Mon. 5 October PM Training
Tue. 6 October PM Training
Wed. 7 October 16:30
Official Conference (Seeb Stadium)
Official Training (Seeb Stadium)
Thu. 8 October 17:00 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2
AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification
vs.  Syria National Team (Seeb Stadium)
More information
Fri. 9 October PM Training
Sat. 10 October PM Training
Sun. 11 October PM Training
Mon. 12 October 16:30
Official Conference (Azadi stadium)
Official Training (Azadi stadium)
Tue. 13 October 17:00 International Friendly Match
vs.  Iran National Team (Azadi stadium)
More information

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2 AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification

10-8 (Thu.) - kick off at 22:00 <Japan Time> (subject to change) 
Oman/Seeb Stadium
Syria National Team  vs.  SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
More information

International Friendly Match

10-13 (Tue.) - kick off at 22:30<Japan Time> (subject to change)
Iran/Azadi stadium
Iran National Team vs. SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
More information
Announcement from Iran Embassy of Japan – To people who come for the match against Iran – (Japanese version only)

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