SAMURAIBLUE’s Coach Moriyasu shares aspiration to improve condition and reaffirm team concept in match against Canada
17 November 2022
On Wednesday 16 November, one day before their final pre-tournament friendly against the Canada National Team, the SAMURAIBLUE (Japan National Team), who will participate in the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, held an official training session and press conference at Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, where Head Coach MORIYASU Hajime shared his aspiration to “improve the condition of the whole team and to reaffirm our team concept.”
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ is set to kick-off on Sunday 20 November and Japan's first group stage match against Germany is just one week away. However, the team only began training in Doha on Tuesday 15, and many of the players on the roster have recently recovered from illnesses and injuries. With it being their first match since their trip to Germany in September, this friendly against Canada, who will also participate in the World Cup, offers the team an invaluable opportunity to gain match experience.
Ahead of the team’s final prep-match, coach Moriyasu commented, “We have simulated various situations upon choosing this 26-man roster, and I want to make sure that this squad can compete through the World Cup,” before adding, “We hope to prepare ourselves well for the World Cup.”
The coach also suggested that ITAKURA Kou (Borussia MG), ASANO Takuma (VfL Bochum) and TANAKA Ao (Fortuna Dusseldorf), who have just returned from injury, will make their starts, while ENDO Wataru (VfB Stuttgart), MORITA Hidemasa (Sporting CP), MITOMA Kaoru (Brighton & Hove Albion FC), and TOMIYASU Takehiro (Arsenal) will be left out of the squad for the friendly.
On this day, the team travelled from their camp site in Doha to Dubai, and held an official training session at Al Maktoum Stadium, the home stadium of the UAE powerhouse Al Nasr SC and the venue for the friendly match. During the first 15 minutes of the training session, in which the session was opened to the media, the players were seen going through their warmup routines before engaging in passing drills to check their feel for the ball.
The three goalkeepers took turns practicing their catching techniques and positioning when facing crosses as they went over their respective menus. After the first 15 minutes, the session went behind closed doors as the team went over their match-day set pieces and strategies.
Following the training session, Tanaka commented, “We want to focus on our performance, both as a team and as individuals. We will need to communicate with each other to keep ourselves on the same page,” while Itakura added, “I'm feeling very good about the way things are going. It will be a good test match before our match against Germany.”
KUBO Takefusa (Real Sociedad), who is recovering from a shoulder injury, shared his take on the friendly match, “It will be great if we can gain confidence from the match. We want to focus on the details rather than the end result.”
Canada and Japan have faced each other twice, with Japan coming out on top both times. The two teams last played in an international friendly match in Doha in March 2013, which Japan won 2-1. This time, however, they will be up against a team coached by John HERDMAN, who has been in charge since 2018 after previously serving as the head coach of the women's national teams of Canada and New Zealand. Herdman led the team to its first World Cup qualification in 32 years after they topped the CONCACAF final qualifying round.
In the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ they will play in Group F against Belgium, Croatia and Morocco. Following their matches against Qatar (2-0) and Uruguay (0-2) in September, the team played a friendly against Bahrain (2-2) on Friday 11 November as part of their pre-tournament preparations.
When asked about Canada, coach Moriyasu said, “Canada is a well-organised team that combines world-class teamwork and individual strength. They will allow us to simulate a variety of tactical situations.”
Team captain YOSHIDA Maya (FC Schalke 04) also commented, “We are going to gear up our minds and spirits by playing against a team that will also compete in the World Cup. We must adjust to the national team’s way of doing things, including our approach in both offence and defence, as well as set pieces.”
The Japanese dressing room at the match venue was decorated with origami papers that had messages and illustrations written by the fans across the country, providing a different way of supporting the players at a stadium far away from Japan.
The match between the SAMURAIBLUE and the Canada National Team will take place at Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai on Thursday 17 November with a kick-off time of 17:40 (22:40 Japan time).
International Friendly Match
Date: Thu. 17 November 2022, 17:40 (22:40 Japan time)
Fixture: SAMURAI BLUE vs Canada National Team
Venue: Al-Maktoum Stadium (United Arab Emirates)
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™
Tournament Dates: Sun. 20 November - Sun. 18 December 2022
1st Match: Wed. 23 November 16:00 [Local Time] vs Germany National Team
2nd Match: Sun. 27 November 13:00 [Local Time] vs Costa Rica National Team
3rd Match: Thu. 1 December 22:00 [Local Time] vs Spain National Team
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