【Match Report】U-22 Japan National Team draw with the Netherlands to finish Europe tour with a win and a draw
15 June 2023
On Wednesday 14 June, the U-22 Japan National Team, who are on a tour to Europe, faced the U-22 Netherlands National Team at Wiener Neustadt ERGO Arena in Austria, where they drew 0-0.
Head Coach OIWA Go made four changes to their starting line-up following their match against England, which took place behind closed doors. SUZUKI Zion (Urawa Red Diamonds) started in goal with UCHINO Takashi (Fortuna Dusseldorf), SUZUKI Kaito (Jubilo Iwata), KIMURA Seiji (FC Tokyo), and KATO Hijiri (V-Varen Nagasaki) forming the four-man defence line. Team captain YAMAMOTO Rihito (Gamba Osaka) anchored the midfield alongside FUJITA Joel Chima (Yokohama F. Marinos), while MITO Shunsuke (Albirex Niigata) and SATO Kein (Meiji University) were positioned in the flanks to support the two strikers, FUJIO Shota (FC Machida Zelvia) and SUZUKI Yuito (RC Strasbourg).
The Netherlands took the initiative in the opening minutes, but as the game went on, the Japanese players progressively adjusted to gain ground.
Japan’s first big chance came in the 21st minute, when Mito delivered a pass to setup the shot of Sato, but the winger was unable to convert this opportunity. Although Japan created more and more chances towards the end of the first half, the match entered the break scoreless.
In efforts to break the deadlock, Japan actively utilised their bench, as they brought on MATSUMURA Yuta (Kashima Antlers) and HIRAKAWA Yu (FC Machida Zelvia) in place of Mito and Sato in the 73rd minute, followed by NISHIKAWA Jun (Sagan Tosu) and SEKINE Hiroki (Takushoku University) in the 82nd minute. SHIGEMI Masato (Fukuoka University) was also introduced in the 88th minute, after Nishikawa picked up an injury.
Despite the close opportunity created during additional time, Japan was unable to find the back of the net, as the match ended in a scoreless draw.
As a result, Japan finished their European tour with a win and a draw, after playing against two European powerhouses, England and the Netherlands.
Coach and Players' Comments
OIWA Go, Head Coach
To be honest, we really wanted to win this match. We emphasised the necessity of having the third man providing coverage in terms of defence, and the players shown excellent aggression throughout the match. I feel that we were able to raise the team’s standard in that aspect. It would have been better if we could start moving the ball with more confidence and keep working on it from the first half.
DF #4 SUZUKI Kaito (Jubilo Iwata)
The Netherlands seemed to be quite well-organised when constructing their attacks from behind. They were perhaps one of the greatest European sides we have played so far in terms of adding layers from behind and keeping the ball moving with minimum touches. However, we didn’t give up too many opportunities to our opponents, so I think we did well in that aspect. Our opponents really took advantage of their speed, but we managed to keep our composure when dealing with the vertical passes.
MF #7 YAMAMOTO Rihito (Gamba Osaka)
I feel like this was a match we should have won. We played very well defensively, but we were unable to execute our plays the way we wanted in offence. All and all, we gained a lot of confidence through our matches against England and the Netherlands in this tour. We hope to make the most of this experience to improve ourselves moving forward.
International Friendly Match
vs U-22 England National Team ※behind closed doors
Date: Saturday 10 June 2023
Venue: St. George's Park, England
vs U-22 Netherlands National Team
Date: Wednesday 14 June 2023, 14:30
Venue: Wiener Neustadt ERGO Arena, Austria
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