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HOME > SAMURAI BLUE > 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia& / AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019&trade Preliminary Joint Qualification - Round 2 > NEWS > SAMURAI BLUE begin training for Cambodia clash as World Cup Asian Qualifiers to resume


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SAMURAI BLUE begin training for Cambodia clash as World Cup Asian Qualifiers to resume

01 September 2015

SAMURAI BLUE begin training for Cambodia clash as World Cup Asian Qualifiers to resume

SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) began their series of training in Saitama on 31 August in the run up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Second Round against Cambodia to be held on 3 September in Saitama and against Afghanistan on 8 September in a neutral place, Tehran.

On the first day of the camp, 20 players assembled, excluding the players who will join the team on 1 September due to the schedule of their own club – midfielder KAGAWA Shinji (Borussia Dortmund), midfielder HARAGUCHI Genki (Hertha BSC Berlin) and defender NAGATOMO Yuto (FC Internazionale Milano).

The Asian Qualifiers Round 2, which got underway in June, resumes after 2.5 months interval as Japan shared the spoils with Singapore in their first match of the round on 16 June. Japan finished the EAFF East Asian Cup in early August in China with two losses and one tie. They are expected to grab a win over Cambodia after the four-match winless run.

Japan coach Vahid HALILHODZIC gathered his players at the beginning of the training, saying "We haven't won the last four matches. We've got to win the upcoming two matches." And he expressed his determination to ensure that understanding in the team is consistent.

The training session that started in light rain included light tune-up centred on recovery because most players joined the camp after playing weekend matches. The players except for goalkeepers NISHIKAWA Shusaku (Urawa Reds) and ROKUTAN Yuji (Vegalta Sendai) and midfielder YAMAGUCHI Hotaru (Cerezo Osaka) who did not play last weekend worked on trunk training indoors.

Yamaguchi, who did not see action last weekend, also went through drills of shooting after connecting the ball and going up front. Halilhodzic pairing himself with Yamaguchi gave instructions on passing quality and "not to panic at the end" of shooting motions. Yamaguchi repeatedly went through the moves with the coach’s words.

At the end of the session, Japan boss, who was formerly an attacker, served a kicker role, taking several penalties against Nishikawa.

On a side note, defender MAKINO Tomoaki (Urawa Reds) left the national team and went back to his club to be on the safe side for recovery due to injury discovered during the camp. In place of Makino, defender MARUYAMA Yuichi (F.C. Tokyo) was called up and joined the team in the night of 31 August. Maruyama's call-up was for the first time in his career.

The Asian Qualifiers Round 2 also serves as the qualifying round of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 UAE as Japan face Singapore, Cambodia, Afghanistan and Syria home and away in Group E. Each group’s first-placed team and top four second-placed teams advance to the World Cup Asian Qualifiers Final Round as well as grab a ticket for the Asian Cup finals.

The away matches against Afghanistan and Syria are to be held in neutral places due to their domestic situation as Japan meet Afghanistan on 8 September in Tehran.

Players' Comments

FW   HONDA Keisuke (AC Milan)
Japan National Team are supposed to put up a good result, but we recently ended up being sloppy. So we need to play for a victory. We fail to score on a goal-scoring opportunity and tend to fall into a vicious circle. That's what we've experienced. But I will try to add some tricky plays and tempo-changings play at times. We must be flexible depending on situations. I'm in good shape and hopefully show you such plays on the pitch.

MF   ENDO Wataru (Shonan Bellmare)
Today's training was light, but I was able to communicate with my teammates a little bit. The best is yet to come. My strengths are winning in 1-on-1 situations and winning the ball on defence, and feeding vertical passes and getting involved in attacking on offence. I will show off such traits in training as well. In terms of position, I will try to showcase my strength that I can play at various positions.

It was disappointing that we couldn't get any win in the three matches at the EAFF East Asian Cup. First I aim to get a chance to play on the pitch and work hard to contribute to team's win.

FW   MUTO Yoshinori (1.FSV Mainz 05)
I'm in form, and to put up a good result individually as well in the next match, I will make a good preparation. First I will try to contribute to Japan's victory, and anyhow I believe running for the team is important. On the aspect of determination to battle and fighting spirit, I've been put through in Germany, so I hope to give a good momentum to Japan. And winning is indispensable. I'm going to score a goal.

DF   YOSHIDA Maya (Southampton FC)
We first need to win. On top of that, I hope we can get off to a good start against Cambodia with new faces. We didn't get a good result in the EAFF East Asian Cup, so we want to change the course of the team with a win. This time, what we need is a goal. In football, it's the most difficult and most important for you to score. If we score one goal, something may change. So we want a goal as early as possible.

JFA-TV (Japanese version only)

  • Interview - MUTO Yoshinori (1.FSV Mainz 05/Germany)

  • Interview - ENDO Wataru (Shonan Bellmare)

  • Interview - HONDA Keisuke (AC Milan/Italy)


Mon. 31 August PM Training
Tue. 1 September PM Training
Wed. 2 September 17:00
Official Conference (SAITAMA Stadium 2002)
Official Training (SAITAMA Stadium 2002)
Thu. 3 September 19:25 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2
AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification
vs Cambodia National Team (SAITAMA Stadium 2002)
More information
Fri. 4 September AM Training
Sat. 5 September PM Training
Sun. 6 September PM Training
Mon. 7 September 17:00 Official Training (Azadi stadium)
Tue. 8 September 16:55 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2
AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification
vs Afghanistan National Team (Azadi stadium)
More information
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