With doors closed, SAMURAI BLUE go through tactics for Iran match
12 October 2015
With two days to go to the international friendly against Iran, SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) had a workout in Tehran on 11 October.
While it felt even cool occasionally with the sun going behind the clouds, the squad started working out after coach Vahid HALILHODZIC gave them a speech at the centre of the field.
Goalkeepers and field players got separated as the former loosened their body by playing two-a-side mini-volleyball together with goalkeeper coach RICARDO LOPEZ Felipe and the latter took on fitness training. Then the practices became closed to the media and the players went through their tactics including doing so in a scrimmage.
The total record in the past between Japan and Iran is Japan’s five wins six losses and four draws. The last set of encounters went back to the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches held in 2005, where Japan lost 2-1 on the road and won the home match 2-1.
In the on-going 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2, both are leading their respective group with Iran in Group D and Japan in Group E. The FIFA rankings currently have Japan at 55th and Iran higher at 39th.
Defender YOSHIDA Maya (Southampton FC) said of his cautiousness. “Iran are one of the more organised teams in the Middle East. They have some good players up front and they play at a high level. It’s important for Japan to keep holding opponents scoreless. That gives us confidence and the defensive collectiveness gets better.”
Since the match is an international friendly, up to six substitutions are allowed for both teams. As Halilhodzic said at the roster announcement press conference “I would like to try some of the players to see their capability,” it will be interesting to see how the likes of the first call-ups, defender SHIOTANI Tsukasa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima) and midfielder KASHIWAGI Yosuke (URAWA Reds), and less-experienced players including midfielders SHIBASAKI Gaku (Kashima Antlers) and KIYOTAKE Hiroshi (Hannover 96) get their playing opportunities.
Defender YONEKURA Koki (Gamba Osaka) couldn’t hide his eagerness. “Nothing happens until you get to play on the pitch. Once I get the opportunity, I want to play without worrying about I can play well or not.”
Meanwhile Kashiwagi says “I am keeping myself ready to play in the match, but first (in practice) I play with my teammates as I try to see how each of them can play. And I try to show what I can do there.”
The match is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. (10:30 p.m. Japan time) on 13 October at Azadi Stadium in Tehran.
DF YONEKURA Koki (Gamba Osaka)
I am trying to visualize on my mind how I should play at left full-back position, because I have been watching matches. What I need to pay attention to is the finishing quality of the opponents. Even with a small distraction of ours, they can beat us. Unless we take care of every single details at a high level, it will result in a goal against. I know we need to stay focused on that. My strength is my offence. I don’t know how many chances I will get to show that, but I want to show quality plays there.
DF YOSHIDA Maya (Southampton FC/England)
Iran have some good players up front, and they also have a player who used to play for Fulham. I think they are one of the better teams in the Middle East. It will be a difficult match, but we keep pressuring on them high and early, make it difficult for them to distribute the ball to the front and organise our defence more collectively. The temperature and the humidity are lower than those in Oman, so I expect the overall performance will be much better.
MF KASHIWAGI Yosuke (Urawa Reds)
I have a better idea now of what tactics the team want to employ. The way we play is very hard, and it will be a tough match. But I have got a firm feeling that we can beat good teams if we can execute this game plan. It may take time to master it though. My teammates and I talk about Japan not being able to win unless we have appropriate distances between players and good combination. So we want to keep improving those aspects. I keep trying to move up gradually from the defensive midfielder position, have not just single help but double and triple coverage on that, and send passes to the space behind defenders or quick ones to my teammates’ feet as well as support my teammates by pass-and-go.
JFA-TV (Japanese virsion only)
Interview - KAGAWA Shinji (Borussia Dortmund/Germany)
Interview - YOSHIDA Maya (Southampton FC/England)
Interview - MUTO Yoshinori (1.FSV Mainz 05/Germany)
|Mon. 5 October
|Tue. 6 October
|Wed. 7 October
|Official Conference (Seeb Stadium)
Official Training (Seeb Stadium)
|Thu. 8 October
|2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2
AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification
vs Syria National Team (Seeb Stadium)
|Fri. 9 October
|Sat. 10 October
|Sun. 11 October
|Mon. 12 October
|Official Conference (Azadi stadium)
Official Training (Azadi stadium)
|Tue. 13 October
|International Friendly Match
vs Iran National Team (Azadi stadium)
International Friendly Match
10-13 (Tue.) - kick off at 22:30 ＜Japan Time＞ (subject to change)
Iran National Team vs SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
Announcement from Iran Embassy of Japan – To people who come for the match against Iran – (Japanese version only)
- National Teams 2015/10/11 SAMURAI BLUE tune up elaborately in 2 groups for Iran clash
- National Teams 2015/10/10 SAMURAI BLUE begin training in Tehran ahead of friendly against Iran
- National Teams 2015/10/09 2nd half surge put SAMURAI BLUE to 3-0 win over Syria, top of Group E in World Cup Asian Qualifiers Round 2
- National Teams 2015/10/08 Halilhodzic: We have to show who we really are – Press conference ahead of match against Syria at World Cup Asian Qualifiers Round 2
- National Teams 2024/02/22 【Scouting report】One of Asia's strongest teams aiming for a third Olympic appearance (Women's Olympic Football Tournament Paris 2024: Asian Qualifiers Final Round) - DPR Korea Women's National Team
- National Teams 2024/02/16 U-16 Japan National Team squad & schedule - Turkiye tour (2/24-3/5)
- National Teams 2024/02/16 U-15 Japan National Team short-listed squad & schedule - Training Camp (2/19-2/23＠Chiba)
- National Teams 2024/02/13 U-20 Japan Women's National Team squad & schedule - AFC U20 Women's Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2024 (2/19-3/18＠Uzbekistan)
- National Teams 2024/02/08 Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) squad & schedule - Women's Olympic Football Tournament Paris 2024 Asian Qualifiers Final Round vs DPR Korea (1st leg 2/24＠Prince Abdullah AlFaisal Stadium, 2nd leg 2/28＠Tokyo)