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HOME > National Teams > U-24 2021 > NEWS > “Two valuable matches ahead of the Tokyo Olympics” U-24 Japan National Team holds press-conference ahead of the SAISON CARD CUP 2021


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“Two valuable matches ahead of the Tokyo Olympics” U-24 Japan National Team holds press-conference ahead of the SAISON CARD CUP 2021

26 March 2021

“Two valuable matches ahead of the Tokyo Olympics” U-24 Japan National Team holds press-conference ahead of the SAISON CARD CUP 2021

One day ahead of their SAISON CARD CUP 2021 match against the U-24 Argentina National Team at Tokyo Stadium, the U-24 Japan National Team held an online press-conference on Thursday 25 March.

Coach YOKOUCHI Akinobu, who will be in charge of this match, started off by mentioning, “I am grateful to all the people who have contributed to making this friendly match possible,” and continued to share his aspiration for the match, “We will be competing in two valuable matches ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. We will give our utmost efforts to showcase a good performance against Argentina.”

This will be the first time the U-24 Japan National Team will face other national teams since the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 in January last year. The team was eliminated at the group stage back then, giving the players extra motivation to prepare and improve themselves over the past year where the team was inactive.

Reflecting on the team’s condition, coach Yokouchi mentioned, “Unexpected things happen in football and the players are required to make quick decisions on the pitch. I feel like the players have shown great improvements in that aspect, so I am expecting great things from our players.”

When asked about their approach for the first match against Argentina, “I want our players to showcase everything they’ve got while sticking to the game plan.”

On this day, the team held their final training session ahead of the match, as the player were seen going through light warm-ups before playing an 8 vs 2 possession game. The players seemed relaxed as they went through their team strategies during the first 15 minutes of the session, which was open to the media.

The U-24 Japan National Team, who is preparing for the Tokyo Olympics, will face the U-24 Argentina National Team at Tokyo Stadium on Friday 26 March with a kick-off time of 19:00.

Coach and Players' Comments

YOKOUCHI Akinobu, Coach
It has been a while since the U-24 Japan National Team played in an international friendly match, but I feel that the players have improved themselves at the individual level while the team was inactive. Now we must find ways to showcase those improvements as a team and make it work on the pitch. In addition, the upcoming matches will be played within four days, simulating the schedule of the Tokyo Olympics. However, we will first focus on our first match before thinking about the second match, as we try to approach the matches one match at a time.

DF #6 SUGAWARA Yukinari (AZ Alkmaar)
Argentina is one of the top teams in the world, so I have been looking forward for this match. I am interested in seeing what type of football they are going to showcase. Although they are missing a few players, they brought their best squad at the moment. It’s been a while since I have faced a South American side, so I will try to keep up with their skills.

MF #3 NAKAYAMA Yuta (PEC Zwolle)
After watching footages of their match, I am getting the impression that Argentina carries the traits of a typical South American team, while also having the ability to play solid passing football. They are capable of showing great quality, speed, agility, and strengths in the attacking third, so I am expecting a very tough match. In order to do well against this strong opponent, must thoroughly prepare ourselves at the individual level, while also staying on the same page with the rest of the team.

FW #13 TAGAWA Kyosuke (FC Tokyo)
In this match against Argentina, I hope to showcase what I have been showing at my club. I will act as the team’s switch to activate our pressure from the front line. In terms of offence, I hope to make good runs into open spaces and try to initiate the team’s offence. I know it will be different from what I have been working at my club, but this isn’t my first time with the national team, so I will do my best to help the team win the match.

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