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HOME > National Teams > NEWS > SAMURAI BLUE defeat Singapore 3-0, back on top – FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Match 5


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SAMURAI BLUE defeat Singapore 3-0, back on top – FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Match 5

13 November 2015

SAMURAI BLUE defeat Singapore 3-0, back on top – FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Match 5

On 12 November, SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) played against Singapore on the road for the fifth match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2, and the opening goal by forward KANAZAKI Mu (Kashima Antlers) helped Japan win 3-0.

As the result, Japan now have 13 points with four wins and one draw, topping Syria by one point for the leading positon of Group E again. On that day, no match was scheduled for Syria who have won four matches and lost once.

Japan learned a lesson in the last match against Singapore in June, the opening match of the current qualifying round, where they tied to 0-0. This time Japan’s offence utilised their flanks effectively and showed different attacking options.

Kanazaki, who is back on the national team roster for the first time in 5 years, was put up front as the lone striker, and KIYOTAKE Hiroshi (Hannover 96) right behind Kanazaki, HONDA Keisuke (AC Milan) on the right and MUTO Yoshinori on the left (1.FSV Mainz 05) joined Kanazaki to keep the ball up front and attacked aggressively.

HASEBE Makoto (Eintracht Frankfurt) as a defensive midfielder eliminated the opponents attacking patterns while KASHIWAGI Yosuke sent vertical passes to his teammates up front to initiate the offence and threaten the opposing defence.

Seven minutes into the match, Honda behind defenders met a cross from Muto on the opposite side, but Singaporean goalkeeper Izwan MAHBUD stood tall and denied Honda’s header. In the 16th minute, Yoshida and Honda both aimed their own shot after a free-kick, MAHBUD, who also showed impressive performance in the June match, and forward Fazrul SHahul halted both attempts.

But Japan tenaciously kept attacking the flanks and eventually it paid off and resulted in the first and second goals for Japan.

The first goal was in the 20th minute. Honda on the right took a pass from MORISHIGE and sent a cross after drawing attention from the opponents. Muto on the other side deflected it with his head to Kanazaki, who received and beautifully left-footed it to the back of the net. Kanazaki then dashed to his bench to celebrate his career-first goal on the national team with his teammates.

Six minutes later, Japan added another goal. The ball was moved with a good tempo from the right flank to Muto and to Honda, who did not miss his opportunity to widen the lead.

Japan’s continuous efforts in the 30th minute by Honda from Muto’s feed from the left and in the 42nd minute by YOSHIDA from mid-range, were denied by the goalkeeper again.

While opening the second half up 2-0, Japan did not eased their attacking as Honda, Muto, HASEBE and Kanazaki kept threatening the opponents. But the third goal was not scored so easily partly because of the opposing goalkeepers outstanding reactions.

Later on, the high temperature and humidity started slowing down Japanese players, who allowed the opponents their ways to goal. In the 65th minute Faris Ramli headed a free-kick, and six minutes later Faris Ramli fed a cross and it was Abu Sujad positioning himself in front of a defender on the near side to head the feed also. Fortunately both heading attempts went wide, but they were dangerously close.

In the 70th minute, forward USAMI Takashi (Gamba Osaka) replaced Muto, and in the 75th minute midfielder KAGAWA Shinji (Borussia Dortmund) was sent on in place of Kiyotake. Then in the 82 minute, forward HARAGUCHI Genki (Hertha BSC Berlin) was subbed on for Honda, all in order to give different options to their offence.

In the 88th minute, a corner kick opportunity was awarded to Japan after SAKAI went up on the right side. Kashiwagi kicked it to Yoshida, whose header was cleared on the goal line, but Usami shot the deflection and it went into the goal after hitting Yoshida’s leg.

Japan head for Phnom Penh on 13 November for the next qualifier match against Cambodia scheduled on 17.

Match detail

Coach and Players' Comments

Vahid HALILHODZIC, Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
I am very pleased with the win. The first half was very good. Our players played ambitiously and aggressively, and made some beautiful plays. In the second half, we slowed down partly due to fatigue from the heat. But we kept making big chances, so we could have scored more. That part was disappointing. You need to score when you are supposed to score.

I am satisfied with the expressions Kanazaki, Kashiwagi and Kiyotake made. Especially in the first half, they created chances by starting their moves simultaneously. Kanazaki beautifully made a tough shot, and Kiyotake played well against very defensive opponents. Their aggressiveness helped us get balls high and early, and Kashiwagi was a part of our build-up which was effective and full of variety.

The moment when the opponents threatened us for the first time with that unguarded shot is a problem. We lacked discipline at that moment and they attacked us right there. That says you can never underestimate your opponents in the World Cup qualifiers.

MF  KIYOTAKE Hiroshi (Hannover 96)
Before the match started I was expecting it would be difficult to send balls right behind our front line, so I tried to think differently as I played. Kashiwagi and Hasebe were being able to face forward, so I tried to stay in the middle and create something in a limited number of chances. I think we can take it positively as a team that we won it 3-0.

MF  KAGAWA Shinji (Borussia Dortmund)
Because it was hot, I thought we were tired and slow. So I was trying to keep the ball moving around quickly to create a good rhythm. It was good that we won it and didn’t give away unnecessary goals to the opponents. To be honest, we wanted to score fourth and fifth goals.

MF  KASHIWAGI Yosuke (Urawa Reds)
I think we could effectively use two different options, attacking behind their defence and attacking sides. I was trying to let Kagawa and Kiyotake touch the ball and let them show their strength. If the quality of our cross balls and quality of plays before feeding cross balls had been better, and if we had had more combination options in the middle, we could have scored more. So those things need our serious improvement.

Bernd STANGE, Coach (Singapore National Team)
I would like to congratulate Japan team for their 3-0 win. Their style didn’t surprise us, but they effectively shook our defence with their side attacks and build-up based on short passes. We wanted to play higher in their end especially in the first 15 minutes of the match, but we respected our opponents too much and stayed too low. Under those circumstances we kept fighting throughout the 90 minutes, but we weren’t strong enough and the result justifiably shows that.

JFA-TV (Japanese version only)


Sun. 8 November AM Training
Mon. 9 November PM Training
Tue. 10 November PM Training
Wed. 11 November PM Official Conference
Official Training (National Stadium)
Thu. 12 November 3-0 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2
AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification
vs Singapore National Team (National Stadium)
More information
Fri. 13 November AM Training
Sat. 14 November PM Training
Sun. 15 November PM Training
Mon. 16 November PM Official Conference
Official Training
Tue. 17 November 19:14
(Local Time)
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2
AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification
vs Cambodia National Team (National Olympic Stadium)
More information

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

11-17 (Tue.) kick off at 21:14<Japan Time> (subject to change) 
Cambodia/National Olympic Stadium
Cambodia National Team vs SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
More information

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