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HOME > SAMURAI BLUE > KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2015 03/27 TOP > NEWS > Japan get to work on full-fledged practice under Halilhodzic reign, Okazaki, Kawashima join the squad


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Japan get to work on full-fledged practice under Halilhodzic reign, Okazaki, Kawashima join the squad

25 March 2015

Japan get to work on full-fledged practice under Halilhodzic reign, Okazaki, Kawashima join the squad

The Japan national team, dubbed SAMURAI BLUE, began a full-fledged training on the second day of their training camp in Oita to prepare for their game against Tunisia in the 2015 KirinKIRIN ChallengeCHALLENGE CupCUP 2015 at Oita Sports Park Stadium on 27 March.

In the two-hour practice that started from the evening, all the players and staff members assembled on the pitch to have a short meeting. While they occasionally had laughs, their new head coach Vahid Halilhodzic spoke to them for about five minutes.

After that, the players warmed themselves up with running. In a physical training playing in a narrow area, four-a-side field players checked on their moves with the line and rhythms.

While the players were running, Halilhodzic kept himself busy to look his eyes down onto his memos in his hand and checked the feelings of the ball by lifting it between markers and ropes that were put on the pitch.

Then the session was closed for the media and the team worked on tactical practices mainly on their defence.

Forward OkazakiOKAZAKI Shinji (1.FSV Mainz) and goalkeeper KawashimaKAWASHIMA Eiji (Standard Liege) were late to join the team because they had to be with their respective clubs but joined the team for the day's practice. The two worked on recovery menus, around running, away from other players, and wrapped up their training earlier.

But forward KorokiKOROKI Shinzo (Urawa Reds) was announced to not join the practice due to an injury. He left the team. His replacement has not been called up.

Meanwhile, the team held a meeting from the previous night until this morning. They checked on their own players by watching their games in the past FIFA World Cups.

``We watched the videos of the World Cup and saw what we needed to reflect on, and our coach pointed out a lot of different issues that we have. He told us that there's still roomsthere’s a still room for us to grow and it was very convincing, and it made us notice very important things,'' Okazaki said.

The Japan team will play their first game under Halilhodzic against Tunisia on the 27th, and after that they will move back to Tokyo to play against Uzbekistan in the JAL Challenge Cup on the 31st at Tokyo Stadium.

Players' comments

FW  USAMI Takashi (Gamba Osaka)
He wants us to be very peculiar about positioning and distances to get closer more than ever, and I got an impression that he is a coach that demands his players without hesitations. I think that it'd be the best for me to give what I can do offensively, taking balance between offence and defence. And it will be up to how much I can show my play when we switch from defence to offence. The national team have their own mood and level and methods. I felt that it had been a while since the last time I was here. Because it was the first training camp since the coach was replaced, we had some tense mood, but it will be a good experience for me to be able to do it. Have the competitions begun? I think that's right.

DF  MAKINO Tomoaki (Urawa Reds)
Today, we had talks about what we haven't been able to do and what we need to improve, based on what we saw on the video. Our coach's instructions are easy to understand, and he clearly points out what we can't do right and what we need to develop. As we have the new coach, all the players are line up on the same start line. There are players that had called up, but coach hasn't said that he was going to divide into the domestic players and players playing outside of Japan. So I would like to show that I can do this much being a domestic player and understand the football coach wants to play sooner and perform it on the pitch.

GK  NISHIKAWA Shusaku (Urawa Reds)
I think that it's a coach who makes you focus when you need. We were able to hold a good practice in a tense atmosphere today and it was very interesting because I got to know a little bit of what kind of football coach aims to do. We've always had three goalkeepers, so it felt afresh to have four. I believe that once the FIFA World Cup qualifying starts, it's going to be narrowed down to three, but hopefully we have some fun and raise our levels.

GK  KAWASHIMA Eiji (Standard Liege)
As the head coach has been replaced, the Japan national team takes a restart from here. It will be our new theme with the new coach that we pursue what we want to do, looking back the outcomes we weren't able to get to. Coach left a positive result with the Algeria national team in last year's FIFA World Cup, because I think that he had his own football philosophies and they soaked into the team, so the outcome was what was supposed to happen. There's notno doubt that we don't have time before June's FIFA World Cup qualifying. I would have been better had we been able to build our basement based on a better result in the AFC Asia Cup, but plans often don't go as planned, both in football and life. Given the circumstances, I would like to absorb the coach's ideas and perform them on the field.

FW  OKAZAKI Shinji (1.FSV Mainz)
The coach is very peculiar about details and it is going to give us severe environments. But I want to be stronger and better, so I'm thrilled. It's been just a short time since the coach took the helm, but I thought that he's already understood very important things on our team. In fact, they were the same as I was thinking. I think that he is talking the minimum hurdle for us to overcome in competing in the world. In order to go far beyond that, we need to respond to what he wants us to do and I'm excited about the challenge. I was thinking that we needed to have more intensity and other things we needed to do, before we should put out our own style of ball, so I think that we should do that first.



  • Interview - HONDA Keisuke

  • Interview - KIYOTAKE Hiroshi

  • Interview - YOSHIDA Maya


Mon. 23 March PM Training
Tue. 24 March PM Training
Wed. 25 March PM Training
Thu. 26 March PM Official practice
Fri. 27 March19:30KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2015  v Tunisia National Team (Oita Stadiuam)
Sat. 28 March AM Training
Sun. 29 March AM/PM Training
Mon. 30 March AM/PM Official practice
Tue. 31 March19:25JAL CHALLENGE CUP 2015     v  Uzbekistan National Team (Tokyo Stadium)


Fri. 27 March 2015
SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) v Tunisia National Team
Oita Stadium, Kickoff 19:30/Open 16:30
TV Coverage: National live broadcasting on TBS Group

More information


Tue. 31 March 2015
SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)  v  Uzbekistan National Team
Tokyo Stadium, Kickoff 19:25/Open 16:25
TV Coverage: National live broadcasting on NTV Group

More information

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