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HOME > SAMURAI BLUE > KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2014 9/5 TOP > NEWS > Japan lose to Uruguay in Aguirre's debut - Kirin Challenge Cup 1st match


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Japan lose to Uruguay in Aguirre's debut - Kirin Challenge Cup 1st match

06 September 2014

 Japan lose to Uruguay in Aguirre's debut - Kirin Challenge Cup 1st match

Javier Aguirre's debut match with SAMURAI BLUE (Japan men's national team) was spoiled as they lost to Uruguay 0-2 at Sapporo Dome on 5th September in their first game of the 2014 Kirin Challenge Cup.

While Aguirre sent a starting lineup around forwards HONDA Keisuke, OKAZAKI Shinji, defenders YOSHIDA Maya and NAGATOMO Yuto, who competed in the 2014 FIFA World Cup over the summer, the Mexican also started forward MINAGAWA Yusuke and defender SAKAI Tatsuya, who debuted with the national squad, as a center forward and center back, respectively. In the mid field, defender MORISHIGE Masato, who had mostly played as a center back, was placed in the rear space of the midfielders, while HOSOGAI Hajime was slotted in the right midfielder's spot and TANAKA Junya, who returned to the national team for the first time in two years and a half, was put in the left midfield.

Just five days since the team resumed their activities under the new coach on 1st September, the Japanese team entered the match with a slower pace and in fact the linkages between the players looked to be a little awkward at times.
Yet Minagawa headed a shot of a cross from Okazaki on 17th minute, which strayed above the cross bar.

On 27th minute, Tanaka received a pass from Honda and fired a middle shot, but it was blocked by an opposing player.
Meanwhile, Uruguay, who visited Japan having added two new faces to their World Cup squad, threatened Japan with a Cristian Rodriguez header off a free kick on 14th minute.
On 34th, Japan made a mistake in trapping while they tried to move the ball in the defensive line, and Uruguay capitalized on it to connect passes and forward Edinson Cavani put it into the goal in the end.

Uruguay would not come loose in the second half. On 54th, midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro scared Japan with a free kick. And in the 70th minute, Uruguay attacked from the right side and launched a cross. Japan won it up in the air, yet their clearing was not big enough and Lodeiro, who had the ball in the box, fired a shot. Japan goalkeeper KAWASHIMA Eiji repelled it, but forward Abel Hernandez made it into the net to give Uruguay a 2-0 lead.

Japan tried to get on the scoreboard as Tanaka again fired a middle shot on 62nd minute, but it was saved by the goalkeeper. Aguirre sent forward KAKITANI Yoichiro, switching to a 4-4-2 system, and it helped revitalize their offence and had more occasions to position around the penalty box. On 88th, forward MUTO Yoshinori, a late substitute, launched a shot but it was deflected by the left goal post. On 89th, Aguirre put midfielder MORIOKA Ryota in, but Japan came up short scoring a goal and the match ended as it was, failing to come up with a victory under the Aguirre reign.
Japan will take on Venezuela in their second Kirin Challenge Cup match at International Stadium Yokohama on 9th September.

Match detail (Japanese version only)


Head Coach and Players Comments

It was a match that both teams kept battling, but Uruguay's experience and our own two mistakes made the difference. When you try to learn something by playing against a big team, you've got to learn from your own mistakes. Japan has only practiced for three times and is a team with four players who just made their debuts on the national team. Uruguay was the same Uruguay team no matter what situations they were in. Despite of the result, I'm satisfied with the facts that the team kept fighting, there were no moments that they got mentally behind in competing with the opponents, and they did not feel down even after they allowed the two goals. I saw some positive points as far as the players' individual performances. We had more corner kicks and free kicks than our opponents while we had a Minagawa header, so I'm not necessarily disappointed with our attacks, yet we need to keep working a lot more. We have our next match against Venezuela on Tuesday, so we want to keep our head up.

FW MINAGAWA Yusuke(Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
I was so excited (as I was a starter). As for the heading shot, I wanted to make it. That I couldn't make it hurt the team and I feel responsible for it. As I became a starter and kept coming up with some outcomes in the J. League, I felt that I had people that watch me behind me. It made me feel like I wanted to be on this stage more.

FW HONDA Keisuke(AC Milan/Italy)
The fact that Uruguay took this game 2-0 was the difference between us. Coach told me before the game that it couldn't hep that we didn't have time to prepare, we wanted to win, but at the end of the day we would be happy to show some of what we've done as a team even though out chances to take the game would not be very big. As far as me went, I tried to stay up front holding my instinct to want to touch the ball. By doing so, I thought it would give every player in every spot responsibility and it would help grow the midfield and defenders. Until we made a mistake, I don't think that we gave our opponents play in a way they wanted to play. When each player exhibits his own trait and put them all together, you have a game, but it was one of our issues that we didn't do that.

FW MUTO Yoshinori(FC Tokyo)
I went into the pitch as substitute as I was saying to myself “I am going to get it”. I was also careful about playing carelessly. Nagatomo suggested me to just try to do something. I found some play is applicable or I could do.

DF SAKAI Tatsuya(Sagan Tosu)
It was first international appearance for me and I realized there were something I could do and something couldn’t. I made some mistakes and today’s result was not favorable but I think this will be the game which leads to the next game. I was trying to move the ball fast and taking right position as I calling each other for defending Uruguay’s fast counter-attack. Talking about when they scored goal, that was my mistake for lack of skills. After that goal, I managed to switch back soon as my team mates kept saying “next, next”. I was very excited to play in the full crowd and found it good atmosphere, definitely want to play longer.

Celso OTERO QUINTAS, Acting Head Coach of Uruguay
It was a tough game and seemed to be rather like official much not like international friendly match. I suppose both teams demonstrated good performance on the pitch. Spectators should have left stadium satisfied. Knowing head coach Aguirre’s style, I wasn’t surprised at the system but it was first time to see lot of Japanese players. What I was surprised at was Japan squad’s four-back defense was stable and Honda was playing in the different position he used to be. Even in that situation, Uruguay players were flexible enough to adjust to the changes. They are capable of playing that way.


Javier AGUIRRE, SAMURAI BLUE Head Coach, After the mach press conference


  • MUTO Yoshinori

  • Celso OTERO QUINTAS, Acting Head Coach of Uruguay


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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