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SAMURAI BLUE go through offence behind closed doors

11 November 2015

SAMURAI BLUE go through offence behind closed doors

Targeting at the match against Singapore coming up in two days, SAMURAI BLUE worked out for about two hours in the city of Singapore. The match is the fifth in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2 for the Japan squad who welcomed midfielder KAGAWA Shinji (Borussia Dortmund) and defender NAGATOMO Yuto (FC Internazionale Milano) who arrived late due to their club duties. 

Since the day had squall fall during the daytime, it was cloudy, hot and humid when the players started working out. The training regimen started with ball movement drills, running and physical training in the beginning as warmups. Then three goalkeepers got separated from field players to work on blocking shots from two different short-range directions combined with physically-enduring moves to raise their conditioning level.

At this point on, the doors were closed to media while the team moved on to carefully making sure their offensive tactics. 

Japan have played one less match so far than their four rivals in Group E and maintain the record of three wins and one draw, sitting at second place with 10 points. Singapore also have earned 10 points with three wins, one loss and one draw. Both trail leaders Syria with 12 points.

Although Singapore are currently ranked at 152nd in the FIFA ranking, they cannot be taken lightly by Japan, being at 50th, considering the match is held at their home.

Singapore held on to a goalless draw in the first qualifying match against Japan at Saitama Stadium and won the subsequent three consecutive qualifiers after that. As the good result against Japan arguably boosted in their impressive stretch, the rematch has been drawing close attention in the country. Several media members have always been present even at Japan’s practice to report to their fans every day.

After a long travel from Germany to arrive in Singapore on the previous day, Kagawa said of his confidence on his conditioning. “I feel sluggish today, but I will get better in next two days.” “The quality of finishes is important as well as whether we can make enough chances to score. It is essential for us to share our understanding as a team on how we break down the opponents,” added the Borussia Dortmund midfielder.

Forward USAMI Takashi (Gamba Osaka) said “before making assists, I want to make plays to draw two or three defenders to me to give my team good rhythm. But the quality of finishes is also important. Even if we break down opponents’ defence, it will mean nothing if we fail to finish.”

The match kicks off at 7:15 p.m. (8:15 p.m. Japan Time) on 12 November at the National Stadium in Singapore.

Players' Comments

MF  HARAGUCHI Genki (Hertha BSC Berlin)
In the training, we were given some of the attacking options, so we want to show them well in the match. It is highly expected that they will stay back defensively, so obviously attacking from the sides will be very important. They will be the starting point, and if we can get into the middle accordingly, it will be a great chance for us to score.

I think attacking the sides continuously at good timing will be a key. Personally, I want to maintain a good quality of meeting cross balls and balls coming diagonally, and if I can effectively do it in official matches, that surely makes me more confident.

MF  KAGAWA Shinji (Borussia Dortmund)
If I can increase the number of times that I go into the box as a finisher and at the same time the number of times to touch the ball, I think I will be able to play with a good rhythm. So I will intentionally try to do those.

The quality of cross balls is important, so if players on the sides can feed those when unchecked, it will give us a great opportunity. If we can effectively put enough players in front of goal, that will also create more chances. It’s of course easier said than done, but we want to get ourselves ready for it.

MF  ENDO Wataru (Shonan Bellmare)
Even if it’s full back or defensive midfielder, I want to do necessary preparation for it. But no matter which position I play, what I do is not so different. I want to make sure to show what I am good at such as feeding vertical balls and outplaying opponents in 1-on-1 battles. If I play full back, I will try to finish my play with sending a cross ball.

If I play defensive midfielder, I want to shoot midrange shots, send passes vertically and to the place where opponents don’t want the ball to come, and also move up and join the attack as the second line of offence.

FW  USAMI Takashi (Gamba Osaka)
I will try to score goals myself and also make my play help my teammates score goals. Before making assists, I also want to make plays to draw two or three defenders to me to give my team good rhythm. The quality of finishes is also important. So I want to show those things on the pitch. Regardless of the number of forward players on the squad, there is always competition within the team. You have to take it as your motivation and win that competition. I think I just have to stay positive and turn everything to my energy. 

FW  MUTO Yoshinori (1.FSV Mainz 05)
If we can execute our coach’s game plan against opponents who sit back, the result won’t be anything like the last time. So we will make sure to carry that out, and if we can score early, it will be a good match for us. I have been in good shape in Germany, so I think I can come out nicely for these matches. But I haven’t been able to leave good results for the national team, so I want to be particular about my own result.

JFA-TV (Japanese version only)

  • Interview - KAGAWA Shinji (Borussia Dortmund/Germany)

  • Interview - ENDO Wataru (Shonan Bellmare)

  • Interview - USAMI Takashi (Gamba Osaka)


Sun. 8 November AM Training
Mon. 9 November PM Training
Tue. 10 November PM Training
Wed. 11 November PM Official Conference
Official Training (National Stadium)
Thu. 12 November 19:15
(Local Time)
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2
AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification
vs Singapore National Team (National Stadium)
More information
Fri. 13 November AM Training
Sat. 14 November PM Training
Sun. 15 November PM Training
Mon. 16 November PM Official Conference
Official Training
Tue. 17 November 19:14
(Local Time)
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2
AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification
vs Cambodia National Team (National Olympic Stadium)
More information

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

11-12 (Thu.) - kick off at 20:15<Japan Time> (subject to change) 
Singapore/National Stadium
Singapore National Team vs SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
More information

11-17 (Tue.) kick off at 21:14<Japan Time> (subject to change) 
Cambodia/National Olympic Stadium
Cambodia National Team vs SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
More information

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