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HOME > SAMURAI BLUE > 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ / AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ Preliminary Joint Qualification - Round 2 TOP > NEWS > SAMURAI BLUE practice tactics and set pieces for World Cup qualifying match against Singapore on 16 June


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SAMURAI BLUE practice tactics and set pieces for World Cup qualifying match against Singapore on 16 June

14 June 2015

SAMURAI BLUE practice tactics and set pieces for World Cup qualifying match against Singapore on 16 June

On 13 June, SAMURAI BLUE (the Japan National Team) had the second day of their practice sessions in Saitama in preparation for the first match against Singapore, which will be held in Saitama Stadium 2002 on 16 June, in the second Asian section of the qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. For approximately two hours, the players held practice sessions, including a closed one, to check set pieces.

After a warm-up run, in the early part of the session they played a ten-on-ten practice game in a limited area. The players focused on third person movement and checked how to pass the ball, to use the space, or to move while keeping forward momentum. 

Vahid HALILHODZIC, the head coach, called the players’ names, including SHIBASAKI Gaku (Kashima Antlers), HONDA Keisuke (AC Milan/Italy) and YOSHIDA Maya (Southampton FC/England), to guide their movements or stopped their plays to give detailed explanations. When the players moved as he expected, the head coach shouted encouragement: "that’s it! Excellent!" Then in the latter half of the training, the players held a closed session to practice set pieces carefully.

Yoshida noted: "we are still far away from the head coach’s expectation. There are many things we must do - keep the defensive line, sustain our concentration for 90 minutes, and build up to initiate the attack. Having said that, one of the most difficult things is to play naturally. It’s vital how long we can keep playing naturally."

After the practice session, Honda, who turned 29 the same day, received a birthday cake from the media and blew out the candles with a shy smile, commenting: "I’d like to put my words into action to achieve my goal by winning each match."

Japan will meet Syria, Cambodia, and Afghanistan in Group E in the second Asian section of qualifying for the World Cup, playing home and away matches.

Players' Comments 

YOSHIDA Maya (Southampton FC/England)
The World Cup will be really tough, as they are not friendlies. Each match will be different depending on whether it’s home or away. The vital thing for us is to build up positive momentum. As we started well in the previous championship, we were fine even when we couldn’t score many goals in away games. I’d like to start well this time and we must earn three points in home games without fail. 

I’m worried most about our own careless mistakes, rather than possible threats from the opponent. The head coach thinks in the same way, and has told us often not to let our guard down. I believe we’ll be fine, but it’s all up to us.

USAMI Takashi (Gamba Osaka)
I do think individual moves to get free from our marks will be necessary, if Singapore defend solidly. My strength is to loosen the opponent’s defence and to get through by dribbling and accurate passes. If I can show many of that kind of play, we can take the initiative in the game. 

My ultimate goal is to get good results as an individual among the players participating in the World Cup, not to mention as a team. I’m inspired by Nadeshiko Japan, who have once achieved their goal. I respect their achievements in the World Cup.

HONDA Keisuke (AC Milan/Italy)
Our current priority is to follow the head coach’s comprehensive instruction to desire victories, and the goal for now is to become able to play lengthways subconsciously. I’d like to get through the qualifying round. Although I started to realise the gravity of each match recently, I try not to forget the feeling of climbing a ladder, which I felt when I was young. I’d like to improve even more, focusing on winning each match. 

Basically, we have to win all the games in the second section of the qualifying round. As I know it can be quite tough, playing away games, we must score as many goals as possible in home games. We’ll start our qualifying round with a home game. It’s up to how well we can start. We don’t have to feel pressure even if we win 1-0, but the more we score, the better. All the players know the expectations. 

SAKAI Gotoku (VfB Stuttgart/Germany)
It is good to have younger players coming to the squad, posing some risk of losing position and I have to take it seriously to face the situation like this and overcome it. I am not here to give up the position. I am working hard to get myself ready should I have a chance to play in the game by demonstrating what I can do and what I can not.

Realizing SAKAI Hiroki leading the race, it all depends on if I can show acceptable performance in the national team to stand ready on the starting line. Nothing changed for me to keep motivated for winning the position and focusing on the training for playing the game. It won’t change if I go back to the club team.

JFA-TV (Japanese version only)

  • Interview - USAMI Takashi (Gamba Osaka)

  • Interview - HONDA Keisuke (AC Milan/Italy)

  • Interview - SAKAI Gotoku (VfB Stuttgart/Germany)


Mon. 1 June PM Training
Tue. 2 June AM/PM Training
Wed. 3 June 17:00 Training
Thu. 4 June 17:00 Training
Fri. 5 June 17:00 Training
Sat. 6 June 17:00 Training
Sun. 7 June 17:00 Training
Mon. 8 June PM Training
Tue. 9 June PM Training
Wed. 10 June PM Official Training
Thu. 11 June 4-0 KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2015
vs. Iraq National Team (Nissan Stadium)
Fri. 12 June PM Training
Sat. 13 June PM Training
Sun. 14 June PM Training
Mon. 15 June TBD Official Training
Tue. 16 June 19:30
(subject to change))
2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup Joint Qualifiers Round 2
vs. Singapore National Team (Saitama Stadium 2002)

Note: The schedule is subject to change.

2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup Joint Qualifiers Round 2

SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) vs Singapore National Team
Tue. 16 June Kickoff 19:30 (subject to change) 
Saitama / Saitama Stadium 2002
More information

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