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SAMURAI BLUE hold light training

05 September 2015

SAMURAI BLUE hold light training

One day after their victory over Cambodia in the second qualifying of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) had light training on 4 September in Saitama to prepare for their next match against Afghanistan.

Under a mid-summer sunshine, midfielders KAGAWA Shinji (Borussia Dortmund) and HONDA Keisuke (AC Milan) and other players who started in the Cambodia game, in which Japan posted their first win in five games, went through tune-up menus, focusing on the recovery, such as running and stretching.

The three goalkeepers, both the one who started and ones who did not play, exercised by exchanging passes and saving some short grounder shots.

Meanwhile, other non-starters, including forward USAMI Takashi and two others who played as substitutes against Cambodia, warmed up by some pass exchanges, and then move on to a 5-on-5 passing drill checking their passing tempo in narrow areas, while coach Vahid HALILHODZIC gave sharp glance at them.

Then they had a practical menu in which they played with their ball touches limited in a smaller area of one-third of the full field with a goalkeeper.

Despite their first win in this qualifying in the Cambodia match, Japan was able to connect their 34 shots for only three goals. So many of the players pointed out their own issues after the practice session.

“We need to increase our offensive arsenal and make our last passes more accurate,” said midfielder YAMAGUCHI Hotaru (Cerezo Osaka), who was involved in all the three goals with a pair of assists.

Forward MUTO Yoshinori (1.FSV Mainz 05), who ended up having just two shots though he was often in the box, showed his motivation for the next match against Afghanistan, which will be the first away contest in this qualifying for Japan.

He said: “We weren't fully on the same page timing-wise and we shouldn't have our players closer to their goal against opponents who were playing in their own territory. It's important for us to correct on our own. For the next game, if I'll be given an opportunity, I would certainly like to come up with some kind of a result.”

In the other game that was played on the 3rd, Syria edged Singapore 1-0 and took the first place in the Group E standings with six points from two wins. Singapore, who have been 1-1-1 for four points, are in the second place while Japan, who have posted a win and a draw for four points, have move up to the third place. Afghanistan, who didn't play on the day, have had a win and a loss for three points for the fourth place. Cambodia have been win-less for the last place.

The Japan team departed from the country for Tehran for the Afghanistan game at night on the 4th.

Players' Comments

FW   MUTO Yoshinori (1.FSV Mainz 05)
We had some positive response in yesterday's game, but we didn't think that Cambodia would play that much passively but play hard, so in terms of how we play against such a team, we are going to have to rethink.

As for myself, I felt that I needed to score when I had a chance and better the timing of getting inside. It will be a difficult match for us since we play away, but we would like to prepare well. Assisting is one of my important roles, so when I can't score, then I want to contribute in assisting, too.

MF   SHIBASAKI Gaku (Kashima Antlers)
I was watching the game, assuming how I would do, in yesterday's game. We had good chances, but three goals weren't enough. We want to prepare for our next game well. It will be an official qualifying game for the World Cup and it's an away game for us, so our opponents will come against us desperately and it won't be an easy match. We are going to study the opponents and play one game at a time.

MF   YAMAGUCH Hotaru (Cerezo Osaka)
We should've score more goals yesterday. It's not enough that we have the awareness for shooting. We are required to have better accuracy, but it won't change in just one game. It will be depending on what kind of approach you will have for that.

You have to do that from your daily practice. We haven't won away, so it will be important for us to post an away win. By winning away from home, our team is going to be better, so we are going to be sticking to winning it.

DF   SAKAI Gotoku (Hamburger SV)
In our Cambodia game, we were forced to have our men outside the box and didn't have much space in it so we struggled to connect our crosses. In that kind of situations, we need to improve how to find ways to change that to connect crosses, what kind of timing we should launch crosses, and what kind of timing we should get inside. It may be difficult to do that with in a few days, but hopefully we will find the right timing and be in the same page during the 90 minutes of the game.

Now we will play at our opponents' home, so we better preparing for a various situations, and in terms of it being a difficult game, it will be the same as yesterday. We want to focus on preparing well.

JFA-TV (Japanese version only)

  • Interview - SHIBASAKI Gaku (Kashima Antlers)

  • Interview - YAMAGUCH Hotaru (Cerezo Osaka)


Thu. 3 September 3-0 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

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2 AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification

SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)  vs   Afghanistan National Team
2015-9-8 (Tue.) - 16:55 <Local Time>21:25<Japan Time> (subject to change) 

More information
Announcement from Iran Embassy of Japan – To people who come for the match against Afghanistan –

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