SAMURAI BLUE hold a training session behind closed doors ahead of their match against Ecuador
26 September 2022
On Sunday 25 September, two days before their second match of the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2022 against the Ecuador National Team, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) held a training session behind closed doors in Dusseldorf.
With only two matches remaining before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, and with this match against Ecuador being the last match before they finalise the squad, the team was keen to ensure that they covered every little detail ahead of the match.
The training session lasted for about an hour and a half, in which only the first 15 minutes were opened to the media. The players were seen going through their warmup routines before engaging in ball possession drills, where NAGATOMO Yuto (FC Tokyo) showed his enthusiasm to motivate his teammates.
MAEDA Daizen (Celtic FC), who injured his right foot in the match against the USA, did not show up at the training ground as he continued to get treated at the hotel. Goalkeeper GONDA Shuichi (Shimizu S-Pulse) also left the team this morning due to an injury sustained during the match.
With their first group stage match of the World Cup just around the corner, the team is highly motivated to make the most of this valuable opportunity to play in these series of matches in Germany, and the players are showing a high level of concentration and intensity.
“We want to work on the issues we saw in our match against the USA. Although we may see a change in our line-up, we need to be consistent in our approach and stabilise our performance no matter who is on the pitch,” said team captain YOSHIDA Maya (FC Schalke 04).
Their opponents, Ecuador, who are ranked 44th in the FIFA rankings, qualified for their fourth World Cup by finishing fourth in the South American qualifiers. The team finished in the top 16 at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™. In addition to the Netherlands and Senegal, they will play host nation Qatar in their opening match on 20 November.
This will be the first time the two sides face each other since the CONMEBOL Copa America Brazil 2019 (1-1 draw), with Japan having won two and drawn one on aggregate.
KUBO Takefusa (Real Sociedad), who experienced the match three years ago, shared his impression on their next opponent, “Ecuador are stronger than they were when we last faced them. When you look at how they played in the South American qualifiers, they showed great competitiveness while also working well as a team to counter the unparalleled individuality of other South American nations.” The midfielder added by saying, “We need to keep in mind that they are a dangerous team.”
Mindful of the tough competition expected at the group stage against Germany, Spain, and Costa Rica, Yoshida shared his aspirations, “Ecuador have qualifed through the South American qualifiers. It will be a very good test for us to see how we fare against a solid team like them.”
The team will hold an official training session at the match venue, Dusseldorf Arena, on Monday 26.
Date: Tue. 27 September 2022 *13:55 (20:55 Japan time)
Fixture: SAMURAI BLUE vs Ecuador National Team
Venue: Dusseldorf Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany
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