【Match Report】U-20 Japan National Team fail to defend first half lead in loss to Colombia - FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2023™
25 May 2023
On Wednesday 24 May, the U-20 Japan National Team faced the U-20 Colombia National Team in their second group stage match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2023™.
Following their 1-0 victory over Senegal on Sunday, Japan made just one change to their starting line-up as KIMURA Ryoya (Nihon University) started in goal with TAKAI Kota (Kawasaki Frontale), CHASE Anrie (VfB Stuttgart), TANAKA Hayato (Kashiwa Reysol), and TAKAHASHI Niko (FC Barcelona) forming the four-man defence line. YAMANE Riku (Yokohama F. Marinos), who entered as a second half substitute in the previous match, was given the start this time, as the Yokohama man was paired with FUKUI Taichi (FC Bayern Munich) to anchor the midfield. SANO Kodai (Fagiano Okayama), MATSUKI Kuryu (FC Tokyo), and KITANO Sota (Cerezo Osaka) were placed beneath the lone striker, KUMATA Naoki (FC Tokyo).
In the early minutes, Japan struggled to contain Colombia’s side attacks, but showed tenacious efforts in defence to gradually increase their ball possession. Their persistency was paid off in the 30th minute, when Yamane capitalised on a short corner kick executed from the right side to give Japan the lead, as the midfielder later reflected, “We were able to execute the play just as we planned.”
However, it was all Colombia from this point on, as the South American side increased their dominance in the second half and scored back-to-back goals in the 53rd and 59th minutes to take the lead.
Head Coach TOGASHI Koichi tried to change the dynamics of the game by using his substitutes, but Japan was still unable to break down the Colombian defence. With second half substitutes, EINAGA Takatora (Kawasaki Frontale) and MATSUDA Hayate (Mito HollyHock) delivering quality crosses from the flanks, the match saw Japan create more and more chances in the closing minutes.
A golden opportunity arrived for Japan in the 82nd minute, when VAR ruled that Colombia committed a handball inside their own penalty area, giving Japan a chance to equalise from the spot, but the shot taken by Matsuki was denied by the woodwork.
Japan had another crucial opportunity during additional time, but failed to capitalise on it, as Colombia defeated Japan 2-1. With their spot into the knockout stage on the line, Japan will now face Israel on Saturday 27 May.
Coach and Players' Comments
TOGASHI Koichi, Head Coach of U-20 Japan National Team
In the first half, we were able to demonstrate what we had been working to score the opening goal. We discussed how we didn’t want to be overwhelmed by Colombia's intense pressure in the first 15 minutes of the second half, after experiencing it at last year’s Maurice Revello Tournament. While the first goal was unavoidable, the fact that we conceded the second goal at that time of the game gave Colombia momentum, which I think is the main reason for today's result.
GK #1 KIMURA Ryoya (Nihon University)
It was great that we were able to take the lead in the first half, but we ended up conceding back-to-back goals early in the second half, which I take full responsibility for. We must win our next match. (Reflecting on the second goal conceded) I had to be more careful, especially after making a fine play with my left foot. I need to raise the quality of each of my plays.
MF #5 YAMANE Riku (Yokohama F. Marinos)
We reminded each other to keep our focus at the start of the second half, but we ended up conceding consecutive goals. That is something we must address and improve. However, the tournament is not over yet, so we must make the most of this experience to do better in our next match. We knew that set-pieces were going to play a key role in tight matches like these, so I am glad I was able to score one for the team.
MF #6 FUKUI Taichi (FC Bayern Munich/Germany)
We were able to execute the play just the way we wanted to score the opening goal. However, there were many more chances we could have capitalised on, so that is something we need to address. We know what we need to work on, so we must make the most of the time we have left to improve ourselves ahead of our next match.
FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2023™
Tournament dates: Sat. 20 May - Sun. 11 June 2023
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- National Teams 2023/09/21 Argentina Women's National Team squad - International Friendly Match (9/23＠Fukuoka)
- National Teams 2023/09/21 Japan Futsal National Team squad - AFC Futsal Asian Cup™ 2024 Qualifiers (9/28-10/12＠Chiba/Chinese Taipei)
- National Teams 2023/09/21 Japan Futsal National Team short-listed squad & schedule - Training Camp (9/25‐9/27＠JFA YUME Field)