SAMURAI BLUE lose final home match of the year 1-4 against Venezuela - KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2019 (11/19＠Suita)
20 November 2019
On Tuesday 19 November, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) faced the Venezuela National Team in the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2019 at Panasonic Stadium Suita, where they lost 1-4 in this year’s final match played in Japan.
Five days following their away victory over the Kyrgyz Republic National Team, nine players were rotated from the squad, and coach MORIYASU Hajime made eight changes to their starting line-up, as UEDA Naomichi (Cercle Brugge K.S.V.), HARAGUCHI Genki (Hannover 96), SHIBASAKI Gaku (Deportivo de La Coruna) were the only players who started in both matches.
Despite drawing 1-1 against Venezuela a year ago at Oita, the SAMURAI BLUE struggled to find their rhythm in the early minutes of the match. With the team starting numbers of new players, the Japanese side failed to keep the ball moving and showed inconsistent plays against Venezuela, who applied aggressive pressure from their frontline. The opening goal came in the eighth minute, when Venezuela’s Yeferson SOTELDO broke through the left side before sending a cross, allowing their ace, Salomon RONDON, to capture the net with a header. Following the opener, Venezuela continued to threaten the Japanese goal, as Soteldo and Darwin MACHIS penetrated the flanks to create opportunities.
After failing to take the initiative, the SAMURAI BLUE made efforts to level the match through their offence line led by the two forwards, SUZUKI Musashi (Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo) and ASANO Takuma (FK Partizan Belgrade). In the 17th and 22nd minute, NAKAJIMA Shoya (FC Porto) fired shots from the left side, followed by a header struck by SASAKI Sho (Sanfrecce Hiroshima) from a corner kick in the 22nd minute. Shibasaki’s delivery connected with Suzuki in the 25th minute, but the striker’s shot failed to hit the target.
While Japan continued show signs of struggle to pick up their pace, Venezuela managed to double their lead in the 30th minute, when Machis assisted Ronon’s second goal of the match. Just three minutes later, Rondon connected with the header dropped by Yangel HERRERA to complete his hat-trick within the first half. With momentum on their side, Venezuela scored their fourth goal in the 38th minute, putting Japan into a deep hole at halftime. For the SAMURAI BLUE, this was their first time conceding four goals under the Moriyasu regime, since their match against Chile at the CONMEBOL Copa America 2019 in June.
In efforts to change the dynamics of the game, coach Moriyasu sent out FURUHASHI Kyogo (Vissel Kobe) and MIURA Genta (Gamba Osaka) to replace Suzuki and Ueda to start the second half. With the change, the team shifted to a 4-2-3-1 formation with Asano playing as the lone striker. Following the change, the team started to show more energy upfront, as Furuhashi made attempts to create opportunities, while Nakajima actively took shots to threaten the Venezuelan goal. Miura also played a key role to revitalise the team’s momentum, as he led the defence line to press forward and add more layers to their offence.
The SAMURAI BLUE finally found their rhythm in the second half, as MUROYA Sei (F.C. Tokyo) created a close opportunity in the 55th minute, when his cross connected with Nakajima, but the shot was denied by the opposing goalkeeper. Asano also struck a close shot in the 64th minute, but his attempt failed to capture the target. With hopes to rally back, coach Moriyasu sent NAGAI Kensuke (F.C. Tokyo) and YAMAGUCHI Hotaru (Vissel Kobe) into the match on the 65th minute. Just four minutes later, these two substitutes combined to score Japan’s first goal, as Yamaguchi struck a shot off a cross delivered by Nagai, sending the ball into the net after taking a deflection off a Venezuelan defender.
In their final attempts to level the match, Japan brought on IDEGUCHI Yosuke (Gamba Osaka) in the 82nd minute to add more layers to their offence. While the SAMURAI BLUE continued to create close chances, the final whistle blew with a score of 1-4, giving Venezuela the victory in SAMURAI BLUE’s final home match of the year.
Coaches and Players' Comments
MORIYASU Hajime, Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
We are very disappointed that we couldn’t deliver a victory to our home crowd. Although our players entered the match with a strong intention to win the match, we failed to show sufficient quality in our build-up plays and ball movements to create opportunities. In defence, we gave up too much space to our opponents and allowed them to score multiple goals without much contest. However, our players did well to keep themselves motivated and showcased aggressive plays until the very end. In that sense, I feel that our players fulfilled their responsibilities. The responsibility of our team failing to earn the desired result is on me. I had to demand higher qualities from our training sessions, especially when playing under pressure. In order to compete at the world stage, we must demand higher intensity and quality from our players at a regular basis. I would like to provide more opportunities for our players to feel the world standards and give them the chance to find out what they must do to reach the world level.
DF #4 HATANAKA Shinnosuke (Yokohama F・Marinos)
This match made us realise that even if we can win the ball, it doesn’t mean much if we can’t possess the ball afterwards, and even if apply pressure from the frontline, we still have to work together as a team to make it work.
MF #7 SHIBASAKI Gaku (Deportivo de La Coruna)
All the goals we conceded came from crosses, and we gave up too much space to allow them to deliver quality crosses. Our responses following turnovers were too slow and our defence didn’t function well as a group. We made the necessary adjustments during halftime and managed to improve our performance in the second half.
MF #9 FURUHASHI Kyogo (Vissel Kobe)
Although I was able to play with good intensity, I am disappointed that I finished scoreless. I was able to receive many passes and managed to contribute to our defence in many occasions.
MF #15 ASANO Takuma (FK Partizan Belgrad)
Even if the team is struggling to find momentum, a goal can change the whole dynamics of the match. As a forward, we are responsible to score that one goal, and I am really disappointed of the fact we couldn’t convert our opportunities. I really felt the need to improve the quality of our plays at the final third.
FW #11 NAGAI Kensuke (F.C. Tokyo)
Even if we are playing with a vastly different line-up, we can still make it better by communicating at the individual level. It is also important that we stay positive under difficult stretches. In order to compete at the world level, we must heighten the levels of our fundamental plays, such as making quicker transitions and showing more efforts to win the ball. I feel like those were the areas we lacked in the first half, so must remember how we played in the second half and continue to strive for higher levels.
Rafael DUDAMEL, Coach of Venezuela National Team
Our players understood the importance of this match and showcased a perfect match today. We prepared ourselves thoroughly ahead of this match, which allowed us to display great teamwork and plenty of confidence. This victory was earned by the quality plays showcased by our players.
|Sat. 16 November||18:00||Training|
|Sun. 17 November||PM||Training|
|Mon. 18 November||PM||Official Press-conference/Training Session|
|Tue. 19 November||1-4||KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2019
vs Venezuela National Team (Panasonic Stadium Suita)
*The schedule is subject to change due to the team condition, the weather, etc.
SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) vs Venezuela National Team
Match Date: Tue. 19 November 2019 19:25
Match Venue: Panasonic Stadium Suita, Osaka
TV Broadcast: Broadcasted live on Fuji Television Network (except for some regions)
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