SAMURAI BLUE tune up at match venue for friendly against Iran
13 October 2015
With an eye on the international friendly against Iran to be held on the next day, SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) coach Vahid HALILHODZIC spoke to the media on Monday 12 October at the match venue in Tehran. “For us to move up to the next level, we try hard to win even friendly matches. It is also important in terms of checking the capability of some of the players.
With four days in between including the travel day since the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2 match against Syria in Oman, the highest-ranked Asian team in the FIFA rankings (39th rank) await Japan in the high altitude city of Tehran. SAMURAI BLUE squad went through their tactics on this day at the match venue Azadi Stadium with doors closed except for the first 15 minutes.
The Japan’s coach said "It will be the most difficult match since I took this head coaching job. This is a good test for us, so we have to answer to the test very well."
This is the fourth season for Iran to be led by coach Carlos QUIEROZ, who used to coach Nagoya Grampus of J.League. They have not recorded any loss in the last five matches with their streak starting on 11 June when they won a friendly against Uzbekistan 1-0.
Iran’s squad list many tall and sturdy players including 20-year-old forward Sardar AZMOUN who is currently playing for FC Rostov in Russia. He has scored four goals in the four 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2 matches, and also two goals in the AFC Asian Cup in January this year. Four of those six goals were match opening goals.
Mehdi TAREMI is also in good form as he has scored three goals in the ongoing World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2. Internationally experienced players such as Seyed ASHKAN DEJAGAH, former Germany’s Wolfsburg player, and Andranik TIMOTIAN, who played for Fulham in England, also require close attention by the Japan side.
As Japan have won the last three World Cup qualifiers match, Halilhodzic pointed out “Iran are good at aerial battles and defence. We have to play against their physicality, too.” “I want to see how our players with less international experience, especially those who play in J.League, perform on the road,” added the coach, also stating he would replace about the half of the players who either started or got subbed in for the Syria match.
HASEBE Makoto (Eintracht Frankfurt/Germany) said “To create new competitions (among the team) we all have to play so well that our coach will have a hard time selecting the line-up. It’s how seriously we can take this match. We want to aim for a win.
The match is scheduled to kick off at 5.p.m. (10:30 p.m. Japan time) on Tuesday 13 October.
Coach and Players' Comments
Vahid HALILHODZIC, Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
Iran are at a higher place in the FIFA rankings than we are and they are currently the best team in Asia. Their offence is very good and aerial battles are their strength. Our quality plays are required both offensively and defensively. If we allow them to play to their strength, it will be a tough match for us. This is a good test for us, so we have to answer to the test very well.
It will be the most difficult match since I took this head coaching job. But for us to move up to the next level, we have to be ambitious, try to win even friendly matches, and play better than we did in the Syria match. It is also important for me in terms of checking the capability of some of the players. We play against a very good team, so we have to be highly alert. Especially we do it on the road, so I think we will have many takeaways, both good things and bad things.
DF MORISHIGE Masato (F.C. Tokyo)
Iran are one of the better teams among the teams we have played against recently. Particularly, they’re uniquely good in attacking from the sides and feeding cross balls. We need to make sure to check every opponent in front of goal and we want to outplay them there.
Most of all I want to play hard to help our team win. It’s now very important for me to be able to keep playing throughout the 90 minutes without getting beaten. Then it’s also important for me to pile up that kind of match experience. We want to try out what we have practiced for long time against such a strong team. Also we will play some of the new players, so we need to get better in terms of playing well as a team and finding new players who can play.
MF HASEBE Makoto (Eintracht Frankfurt/Germany)
This is a very important match for us to go to the next level. Iran are physically strong and they have skilled offensive players. They are very good as opponents. It was very hot when we played against Afghanistan last month. But it’s cool here, so I think we can keep running well. It comes down to see whether we can play a good match even with a different line-up. We want this match to be an opportunity that creates new competitions among the team. It’s how seriously we can take this match. We want to aim for a win.
DF NAGATOMO Yuto (FC Internazionale Milano/Italy)
I expect it will be a tough away match, but we can’t lose this one. We play this match to win, treating this just like a World Cup qualifier. Iran are at a higher place in the FIFA rankings than we are. They are at the highest level in Asia in terms of physicality and intensity on the ball. They score many goals through cross balls and they have many tall players. So we will try hard to cope well with cross balls and to keep checking everybody.
We need to play the football our coach expects us to play no matter who are on the pitch. Considering the possible future situations in the long World Cup qualifying campaign where somebody can’t play, we need to keep showing good performance no matter who gets to play. We will play as one collective unit.
JFA-TV (Japanese version only)
Interview - HARAGUCHI Genki (Hertha BSC Berlin/Germany)
Interview - NAGATOMO Yuto (FC Internazionale Milano/Italy)
Interview - HASEBE Makoto (Eintracht Frankfurt/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)
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