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HOME > National Teams > NEWS > U-23 Japan National Team one step closer to booking place at Olympics in Rio de Janeiro


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U-23 Japan National Team one step closer to booking place at Olympics in Rio de Janeiro

14 January 2016

U-23 Japan National Team one step closer to booking place at Olympics in Rio de Janeiro

U-23 Japan National Team in Group B played the first game of the AFC U-23 Championship Qatar 2016, which is also Rio de Janeiro Olympics Asian Qualifiers Final, against DPR Korea on 13 January at Grand Hamad Stadium, Doha.

The match kicked off at 16:30 local time (22:30 Japan Time). After just five minutes, the centre-back UEDA Naomichi, who moved up towards the goal, received a right corner kick from YAMANAKA Ryosuke and fired a volley with his right foot, striking the opener.

After building a one-goal lead, Japan created more opportunities. In the 17th minute, Yamanaka moved forward from left back, and made a strong long-distance shot with his left foot. Although Japan gave away several free kicks in their area, the goalkeeper KUSHIBIKI Masatoshi and Ueda reacted well to the opponent’s shots or crosses, and kept a clean sheet. Just before the end of the first half, the two forwards SUZUKI Musashi and KUBO Yuya took very close shots, looking for more goals.

In the second half, Japan created a goal-scoring opportunity first. After 50 minutes, Kubo in front of the goal reacted with his left foot to a grounded cross from Yamanaka on the left side. The one-touch shot went past the opponent’s goalkeeper, but unfortunately hit the left goalpost.

The score stayed at 1-0. Then in the 62nd minute, the coach TEGURAMORI Makoto swapped MINAMINO Takumi on the right side with YAJIMA Shinya. After 77 minutes, HARAKAWA Riki replaced one of the double defensive midfielders OHSHIMA Ryota. The two players, who came off the bench, concentrated on defence against the opponent’s long-distance balls, so that Japan could keep possession. TOYOKAWA Yuta, who was substituted for Kubo in the 89th minute, also showed off his aggressive plays in both attack and defence.

As the opponent used a lot of long-distance balls, Japan had to defend in front of their goal. However, the centre back IWANAMI Takuya and Ueda, as well as ENDO Wataru, sustained control in the air. Japan stayed focused on reacting to loose balls until the final whistle and won the game 1-0.

The other match in Group B between Saudi Arabia and Thailand was held at 19:30 local time on the same day, which ended in a draw 1-1.

Match details

Coach and Players' Comments

TEGURAMORI Makoto, Coach
I’m relieved that the match is over. After the meeting prior to the match, I told the staff that "the players seemed to be calm", but actually I think they were very nervous. Although I expected that they would overcome the difficulty of the first game and pressure after striking the opener, the players stayed passive to maintain that one-goal lead. If we had not scored early in the game, we could have shown Japanese playing style a little more. Anyway, the nervousness of the first match was greater than I thought.

DF #5  UEDA Naomichi (Kashima Antlers)
As I expected some nerves, I was looking for goals through set pieces. The goal was thanks to all of my teammates, so I ran towards the bench after striking the opener. Winning this kind of match is vital, which leads us to the next level. Since we learned from videos that the opponent would use long-distance balls, I faced the game, thinking of kicking them back. If the opponent had been more accurate, we could have conceded goals. There is still room to improve in many areas.

DF #6  YAMANAKA Ryosuke (Kashiwa Reysol)
I knew if we played patiently, we could score goals. All of us, including me, were determined to keep a clean sheet in the first half. After we could score the opener from a set piece, I felt more relaxed. I had an opportunity to earn a free kick in the second half, and I could have scored a deciding goal. It is my task to improve the accuracy of shots. I’d like to become the kind of a player, who can strike a goal whenever needed despite pressure.

MF #3  ENDO Wataru (Urawa Reds)
I think I was in good condition, playing normally. As I’ve been determined to contribute to the team when I recovered, I’ve been preparing myself to be on the pitch. I always aim to intercept the ball to initiate attacks swiftly whomever I play against. I wish I had created more goal-scoring opportunities from counter-attacks in the second half as well.

We discussed staying calm in defence, even when the opponent takes the initiative. Although we let the opponent take shots several times in the second half, we stayed vocal, encouraging each other: "no problem. Let’s stay focused and calm." Building a consensus among the team was vital, and we built some confidence from keeping a clean sheet.

JFA-TV (Japanese version only)



AFC U-23 Championship Qatar 2016
Wed. 13 January 1-0 Group Stage 1st Match vs U-23 DPR Korea
(@Grand Hamad Stadium)
Thu. 14 January AM Training
Fri. 15 January PM Training
Sat. 16 January 16:30 Group Stage 2nd Match vs U-23 Thailand
(@Grand Hamad Stadium)
Sun. 17 January AM Training
Mon. 18 January 17:45 Official training (@Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium)
Tue. 19 January 16:30 Group Stage 3rd Match vs U-23 Saudi Arabia
(@Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium)
Wed. 20 January AM Training
Thu. 21 January TBC Official training (@tbd)
Fri. 22 January 16:30

Knock-out stage  Quarter-Finals (If Japan top the Group)
(@Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium)
Knock-out stage  Quarter-Finals (If Japan 2nd the Group)
(@Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium)
Sat. 23 January AM Training
Sun. 24 January PM Training
Mon. 25 January PM Training
Tue. 26 January 16:30

Knock-out stage  Semi-Finals (If Japan top the Group)
(@Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium)
Knock-out stage  Semi-Finals (If Japan 2nd the Group)
(@Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium)
Wed. 27 January AM Training
Thu. 28 January PM Training
Fri. 29 January 17:45 Knock-out stage  3rd/4th-Place Playoff
(@Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium)
Sat. 30 January 17:45 Knock-out stage  Final
(@Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium)

*Local Time

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