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U-23 Japan National Team aim to become best in Asia

30 January 2016

U-23 Japan National Team aim to become best in Asia

The young Samurais will finally play for the Asian title on Saturday 30 January.

U-23 Japan National Team are currently participating in the AFC U-23 Championship Qatar 2016 (Rio de Janeiro Olympics Asian Qualifiers Final Round). The team held a practice session from 16:00 local time (22:00 Japan Time) on 29 January.

Prior to the session, the coach TEGURAMORI Makoto appeared at a press conference at 11:00 local time (17:00 Japan Time), and enthusiastically expressed his aim: "we’ve been waiting for an opportunity to play against Korea Republic."

The players held the last practice session of this championship on 29 January. They formed a circle around the coach TEGURAMORI as usual to listen to his speech, which was a little longer that day. Then they encouraged each other: "yes, come on!" on the cold, breezy pitch.

There was a vigorous atmosphere on the pitch from the warm-up. The 21 players, excluding SUZUKI Musashi, who practiced separately, stayed vocal and exercised with the ball to loosen up. They showed an incredible level of unity, which has been building through their successive victories. The players and the coach TEGURAMORI have found a real strength, which will support the team from now on, on the way to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Apart from the first 20 minutes, the practice session was closed, and the media had to stay outside the practice ground. The team spent time checking set pieces.

Although the team has already secured a place at the Olympics, the players are eager to achieve their aim: "to participate in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as the Asian champions." Their challenge continues.

The final of this championship will kick-off at 17:45 local time (23:45 Japan Time).

Coach and Players' Comments

TEGURAMORI Makoto, Coach
During the AFC U-23 Championship 2016 in Qatar, we beat our bogey team and booked a place at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. We’ve been waiting for this opportunity to play against Korea Republic, to whom we lost in the quarterfinal at the 17th Asian Games (2014/Incheon). Both Japan and Korea Republic scored the openers in this championship. We may concede a goal first, but we must not feel pressure and need to stay calm. Anything can happen, which will be an excellent experience for the players. We will play our style – stay tenacious to win the final.

DF #2  MATSUBARA Ken (Albirex Niigata)
A match between Korea Republic and Japan always draws attention. The fact that we just booked a place at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro throws a spotlight on the coming match even more than usual. I expect the game will be exciting and spirits will be high. I’m determined to win at any cost. Although I have only played in one game so far, I know that teamwork is essential in this championship. I’ll do my best for the team tomorrow on or off the pitch.

DF #6  YAMANAKA Ryosuke (Kashiwa Reysol)
I can tell matches between Korea Republic and Japan are really exciting even on TV. If I can be on the pitch, it’s vital to stay mentally competitive. I’m prepared to face a tough game, while trying to play strongly. Personally, as I was there at the defeat in the 17th Asian Games (2014/Incheon), I’d like to avenge that to become champions in Asia.

FW #20  ONAIWU Ado (JEF United Chiba)
I’d like to prove that Japan are the Asian champions by defeating our rival, Korea Republic, on the pitch. If we achieve that, I believe we can build up positive momentum before the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. I think I’ve been displaying my strength in physical contact and competition in the air so far. In order to contribute to the team even more, I’d like to keep possession and increase the accuracy of my passing. Of course, I’m eager to score goals in the match against Korea Republic.

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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 3-0
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 2-1 Knock-out stage  Semi-Finals vs U-23 Iraq
(@Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium)
Wed. 27 January AM Training
Thu. 28 January PM Training
Sat. 30 January 17:45 Knock-out stage  Final vs U-23 Korea Republic
(@Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium)

*Local Time

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

Sat. 30 January - 23:45 (Japan Time)
Qatar/Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium
U-23 Japan National Team vs U-23 Korea Republic National Team
More information

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