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HOME > National Teams > NEWS > U-23 Japan National Team get motivated prior to game against Iran


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U-23 Japan National Team get motivated prior to game against Iran

21 January 2016

U-23 Japan National Team get motivated prior to game against Iran

U-23 Japan National Team are currently participating in the AFC U-23 Championship Qatar 2016 (Rio de Janeiro Olympics Asian Qualifiers Final Round), and held a practice session from 10:30 local time (16:30 Japan Time) on 20 January. 

It had been good weather in Doha, and dazzling sunshine welcomed the players that day. At the coach TEGURAMORI Makoto’s order, the players formed a circle to listen to his instructions. Then they were divided into two groups.

The 11 players, who started the game against Saudi Arabia in the third Sec., jogged around the ground at their own pace. Both SUZUKI Musashi and MATSUBARA Ken were still recovering from their injuries and practiced separately.

KAMEKAWA Masashi, ASANO Takuma, and KUBO Yuya, who came off the bench in the match on 19 January, as well as six other players, who were not on the pitch then, practiced with the ball. During the 6-on-3 in the centre circle, the coach Teguramori, encouraged them: "good possession!" The rhythmical passing revealed the players’ motivation.

Then they checked some plays: building up from centre-back to taking shots and crossing from the wings, which forwards and midfielders ran to receive. Although the players had been practicing these moves repeatedly, they struck superb goals in pursuit of more accuracy, speed and the quality.

Kamekawa, Asano, and Kubo stopped practicing with the ball. The other six players moved onto 3-on-3 with the goalkeepers KUSHIBIKI Masatoshi and NIEKAWA Ayumi, followed by practicing penalty kicks. Thinking of the knockout stage, in which they may have to earn a victory on penalties, the coach Teguramori has had the players practicing penalty kicks for a few days.

At 15:30 (21:30 Japan Time) on 21 January, the team will hold an open practice session at Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium, where they will play the knockout stage games (the quarterfinals). The young Samurais are showing "flexibility" and "practicality" – the concept of a Teguramori team – on the pitch, and improving themselves as a team. They are getting motivated gradually, but steadily, prior to the must - win game against Iran. 

Coach and Players' Comments

TEGURAMORI Makoto, Coach
There was already an atmosphere ahead of the knockout stage among the players at the hotel just after the match on 19 January. I myself just cannot wait to the next game. These 10 days before the final will decide whether or not we can challenge the world. The coming 10 days will probably be the most important period for the players, as some of the older players will start to play for the national team after the Olympics. Losing means going home. We’re ready.

DF #12  MUROYA Sei (Meiji University)
As I could have a rest after the game against Thailand in the second Sec., my leg doesn’t hurt any more. Although we expect tough games in the knockout stage, winning three consecutive matches in the group stage has given us some mental strength. In terms of defence, it’s vital to prevent the opponent from striking the opener, and it’s also important not to let them play freely on the wing if I’m on the pitch. Having said that, we cannot focus on defence too much. So I’d like to move forward tactically whenever needed to draw in the opponent’s defenders. 

MF #21  YAJIMA Shinya (Fagiano Okayama)
Although we made some changes to the team, we won the game in the third Sec. As the coach Teguramori pointed out, we haven’t let the opponent get through the defenders to score, which is our strength. With this positive momentum, which we built up through the group stage, we’ll face the knockout stage. All of us know the next game is essential. Having said that, I try not to think that we go home if we lose, and will focus on playing normally.

FW #9  SUZUKI Musashi (Albirex Niigata)
I watched an Iran match on TV, and found that their defensive line tends to stay further up. So when the opponent sent the ball behind them, they could get through. This can be our opportunity. The knockout stage (the quarterfinals) will be one of our biggest challenges. We know that. The atmosphere and the quality of our plays are getting better through each game. I’ll try my best to improve myself in the knockout stage, and to win the championship to achieve our aim.

JFA-TV (Japanese version only)

  • Interview - MUROYA Sei (Meiji University)

  • Interview - IWANAMI Takuya (Vissel Kobe)

  • Interview - KUBO Yuya (Berner Sport Club Young Boys/Switzerland)


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 4-0 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 2-1 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 vs U-23 Iran
(@Abdullah Bin Khalifa 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
(@Abdullah Bin Khalifa 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

AFC U-23 Championship Qatar 2016 (Rio de Janeiro Olympics Asian Qualifiers Final)

Fri. 22 January - 22:30 (Japan Time)
Qatar/Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium
U-23 Japan National Team vs U-23 Iran National Team
More information

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