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HOME > SAMURAI BLUE > KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2014 9/5 TOP > NEWS > New boss Aguirre looks forward to his debut – against Uruguay at Kirin Challenge Cup 2014


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New boss Aguirre looks forward to his debut – against Uruguay at Kirin Challenge Cup 2014

05 September 2014

New boss Aguirre looks forward to his debut – against Uruguay at Kirin Challenge Cup 2014

Japan’s head coach Javier Aguirre expressed his expectation at the press conference on 4 September, on his upcoming debut match against Uruguay at the Kirin Challenge Cup 2014. “We’ve got highly concentrated practices. I hope we can show good collective efforts,” said the new boss of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team).

Under Aguirre, who was assigned as the new coach in the middle of August, his squad worked on the final tune-up at the event site Sapporo Dome after finishing their camp in Sapporo, which started on 1 September. After players warmed up with passing, ball juggling and dribbling drills in a small area, they went through their tactics with doors closed for the media in the total of nearly an hour and a half.

On a side note, midfielder Hasebe Makoto (Eintracht Frankfurt) left the team and went back to Germany in the morning of 4th because of the poor condition of his chronically-injured knee.

Aguirre expressed his confidence on responses of his players at the practice, saying “we had only a short time to get prepared, but we’ve got highly concentrated practices and we can feel some hope. Some of the players are experienced and others are new comers. Anyways, we all can’t wait to play.”

The opposition Uruguay reached the final 16 of the FIFA World Cup this summer as placed 6th in the FIFA ranking just after the tournament (which has Japan at 44th). They won the Copa America three years ago.

Uruguay have brought 14 World Cup roster members including forward Edinson Cavani (P.S.G) and defender Martín Caceres (Juventus) in addition to some youngsters who were called up for the first time. Since head coach Oscar Tabarez, who has led the team for many years, is away due to surgical spine treatments, assistant coach Celso Otero Quintas will take charge of the team.

Japan’s record against Uruguay has marked their one win, one draw and three losses including the recent two defeats in August, 2008 and August, 2013. “Uruguay are very tough as opponents, but we can grow by challenging them. We’ll always try hard on the ball. The respect for Uruguay is necessary, but there is nothing to fear. It’s important to leave a good first impression. We won’t disappoint you,” said Japan’s boss.


We had only a short time to get prepared, but we’ve got highly concentrated practices and created an atmosphere where we can feel some hope. Uruguay are South American champions who have played under the same coach during eight years. They are tough opponents with many significant players in the world. And they’ve got solid defence. The match isn’t going to be easy. We are taking it on with a short period of preparation. Regardless of that, we will try to win. It’s not easy, but I have a hope that we can leave a good impression in Sapporo and Japan.

FW OSAKO Yuya(1.FC Koeln)
Uruguay have got high intensity as they are tenacious on the ball to grab it at any cost. I need to get started with fighting out on the ball to initiate our attacks. If we can put up a good result in every game, I can grow and go up to the higher level. I have high motivation for this game. Our generation must lead the team and need to grow so that Japan can be better. We have a responsibility and can develop ourselves under such a responsibility.

MF SHIBASAKI Gaku(Kashima Antlers)
What I’m required in the national team is different from ones in my club. I want to absorb them to showcase my plays and contribute to the team. Uruguay are one of the top teams in the world and got high individual skills. Against such kind of opponents, we need to concentrate on challenging appropriately on second balls, smoothly shifting between defence and offense and not giving them an easy opportunity to attack us.

We’ve gone through various plays in practice, but sometimes it’s difficult to play the ideal tactics in the very first match. So the fundamentals of football like one-on-one will be the key. We feel our coach’s passion through his words and gestures. I think the basic premise is the fighting spirit. To me, it is going to be a good opportunity to play against (Uruguay’s forward) Cavani. I will try to show everything I have.

DF SAKAI Hiroki(Hannover 96)
We had a practice for the upcoming match. We went through how we are supposed to play on this team. The key is whether we can do that in real matches. I believe our coach’s seen my plays in Germany, so I think it’s important to play just as I play there.

NISHIKAWA Shusaku (Urawa Reds)
We had a good training under head coach Aguirre and I think all of us are set for the game tomorrow. Goalkeeper alone cannot change the pace of game, it is important to make a good combination with other players. I am going to have a good communication if I have a chance to play.

HOSOGAI Hajime (Hertha BSCBerlin/Germany)
I’ve never played in anchor position in National team before and I can’t tell what it is like, I know it is the position to stay in our own half of the field to prepare for counter-attack. If I were chosen to start, I want to keep the other side trapped in our defense and create a good attacking flow.

Celso OTERO QUINTAS, Coach (Uruguay National Team)
This is first game for Uruguay National Team starting a new chapter and it is very significant. I want to make larger pool of the squad base by giving chance to young players. Japan is the team worth respecting for because I have an impression of its high level of technique and playing dynamic and modern football. My expectation for tomorrow’s game is to play good game and make an assessment of young players. Japan is at the stage of starting a new process just like us, I believe Japan team is going to establish its new identity as they going through the process.


  • Javier AGUIRRE, SAMURAI BLUE Head coach

  • OSAKO Yuya

  • HOSOGAI Hajime

  • Celso OTERO QUINTAS, Coach (Uruguay National Team)


Friday, 5 September 2014  vs. Uruguay National Team 
Hokkaido/Sapporo Dome
Kick Off at 19:25 (estimate time)/Open 16:25 (estimate time)
More Information

Tuesday, 9 September 2014  vs. Venezuela National Team
International Stadium Yokohama/Kanagawa
Kick Off at 19:20 (estimate time)/Open 16:20 (estimate time)
More Information

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