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【Match Report】U-16 Japan National Team lose to England in penalties at the 50th Montaigu Tournament Final

11 April 2023

【Match Report】U-16 Japan National Team lose to England in penalties at the 50th Montaigu Tournament Final

After defeating the host nation, U-16 France National Team, in the semi-finals, the U-16 Japan National Team faced the U-16 England National Team in the final of the 50th Montaigu Tournament on Monday 10 April. Seeking to reclaim the tournament title for the first time since 2004, Japan kicked-off the match held at Montaigu in front of a crowd of over 8,000 people.

England attacked from the sides in the first half, much like France did in the semi-final. After the ball was handed to their forward, a number of players got involved as they developed their attacks to pose a threat to the Japanese goal. Japan also moved the ball carefully and attacked from the flanks or played simple vertical passes behind the English defence to allow SEKIGUCHI Kota (Shimizu S-Pulse Youth) to break into the open space, but neither side was able to score in the first half as the game went into the second half without seeing a goal.

In an effort to break the scoreless tie, Japan introduced YAMAGUCHI Gota (Shohei High School) and OSA Ryuki (Shohei High School) to begin the second half. These substitutions led to more plays being made into the English half, and in the 45th, 57th, and 60th minutes, respectively, Yamaguchi, Sekiguchi, and Osa all attempted shots inside the box but were stopped by the English goalkeeper.

After the 70th minute, England had a string of scoring opportunities as well, but the Japanese defence stood firm, with EGUCHI Takuma (Vissel Kobe U-18), KUROKI Yuya (Sagan Tosu U-18), OKAWA Yugo (Kashima Antlers Junior Youth), and TSUKUDA Souta (Yokohama FC Youth) displaying great tenacity to defend their goal. OSADA Towa (Gamba Osaka Youth) and KAWASAKI Kanta (Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo U-18) also made their presence felt in midfield to prevent the opposition from creating chances, as the match ended in a scoreless draw, with a penalty shootout deciding the winner of the tournament.

Before the shootout, the players were gathered by coach HIROYAMA Nozomi, who told them, “Whoever has the confidence, go take the spot kick,” allowing the players to determine the order. However, after missing two attempts, Japan lost the shootout 3-4, finishing the tournament as runners-up.

Players' Comments

MF #8 OSADA Towa (Gamba Osaka Youth)
First of all, I would like to thank all those involved in organising this tournament. The team has always played with the goal of scoring at least two goals and conceding no more than one goal per game. As a defensive midfielder, I think I was able to contribute to that goal in terms of defence, as we conceded only one goal throughout the tournament. However, considering that we were only able to score nine goals in five matches, I feel that I wasn’t able to contribute much in offence. I spent too much time playing defence and had few opportunities to participate in offence, which I believe was the biggest issue, especially in the semi-finals and championship game when we played tougher opponents. I will never forget the moment when England lifted the cup. I want to do my best to overturn that moment in the World Cup in the future. That's my goal from now on.

MF #11 OSA Ryuki (Shohei High School)
Today I had the opportunity to perform on a large stage in front of a large crowd in an atmosphere we cannot experience in Japan. My playing time was limited due to injury, but I still tried to contribute as much as I could. Although we lost in penalties, we gained a lot of confidence from our overall performance. I'll make the most of this opportunity to learn from my mistakes and improve as a player, so that I can help the team achieve better results next time.

FW #19 SEKIGUCHI Kota (Shimizu S-Pulse Youth)
This match made me realise the difficulties of playing abroad and the strengths of other countries. I need to become a player who can score goals when it matters the most. This was a great learning experience, so I will definitely make the most of it to improve myself as a player.

The 50th Montaigu Tournament

Tournament Dates: Tue. 28 March - Wed. 12 April 2023
Tournament Information

  • 全日本空輸株式会社
  • au
  • Mizuho
  • MS&AD
  • MS&AD
  • 読売新聞社
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