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HOME > SAMURAI BLUE 2015 > NEWS > SAMURAI BLUE see off Cambodia 2-0


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SAMURAI BLUE see off Cambodia 2-0

18 November 2015

SAMURAI BLUE see off Cambodia 2-0

SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) faced Cambodia on 17 November at National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh in their sixth match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers 2nd Round. Japan grabbed a 2-0 win with two second-half goals, adding points to 16 with five wins and one tie to keep top spot of Group E.

Coach Vahid HALILHODZIC said before the match, "I want to give opportunities many players to showcase themselves." And he replaced eight players out of the squad of the match against Singapore on 12th.

The Japan coach sent on NAGATOMO Yuto (FC Internazionale Milano) at right back in place of defender SAKAI Hiroki (Hannover 96), who was not at his best conditioning-wise, and placed FUJIHARU Hiroki (Gamba Osaka) at left back.

Japan started with YAMAGUCHI Hotaru (Cerezo Osaka) and ENDO Wataru (Shonan Bellmare) at defensive midfield, HARAGUCHI Genki (Hertha BSC Berlin) at right midfield, USAMI Takashi (Gamba Osaka) at left midfield, and KAGAWA Shinji (Borussia Dortmund) at offensive midfield behind the striker where OKAZAKI Shinji (Leicester City Football Club) was placed.

In addition to the hot and humid climate with over 30 degrees and 70% humidity even after 7 p.m., the unfamiliar artificial turf and the ball forced Japanese players to make errors and struggle to attack because their passing moves did not come through. Yet Okazaki and Haraguchi took a shot just after 11 minutes and Kagawa turned around to fire a shot in the 16th minute, but their shots did not find the net.

Cambodia stayed back to defend with nine players and once they won the ball, they played on counterattacks, letting fast-footed Khuon Laboravy up front run. And in the 22nd minute, Japan allowed them to get close to goal through such a counterattack, taking advantage of Japan's passing error. Japan were again threatened by Keo Sokpheng's direct free kick in the 31st minute and Sokpheng's shot from a free kick in the 42nd minute.

Fujiharu's volley shot for Kagawa's cross was denied by the post in the closing minutes of the first half.

At the start of the second half, KASHIWAGI Yosuke (Urawa Reds) was subbed in for Endo. Then, his accurate feeds increased the number of goal-scoring opportunities. Cross balls from Nagatomo were also provided more often from the right flank as well. In the 47th minute, Kagawa was brought down in the penalty box, but Okazaki's spot kick was saved by the goalkeeper.

Then in the 51st minute, Okazaki broke the deadlock, battling against opposing players for Kashiwagi's acute free kick, which triggered an own goal.

Nagatomo met Haraguchi's cross in the 59th minute, and four minutes later HONDA Keisuke (AC Milan) received Kashiwagi's delivery right after subbed in and dribbled up to take a close-range shot. Okazaki and Yamaguchi fired a shot afterwards, but those were also denied by the goalkeeper.

MINAMINO Takumi (Salzburg) replaced Okazaki in the 86th minute as he threatened the opponents with his left-footed volley two minutes later.

Japan's additional goal came in the 90th minute. Starting from Nagatomo's long pass from the opposing side, Haraguchi slotted a pass to Fujiharu, who ran up the left flank. Honda headed home Fujiharu's cut-back from the goal line. Thanks to Honda's goal in the 5th consecutive match, Japan finished the match 2-0. Japan extended a record clean sheet run to six in the World Cup Qualifiers.

Before the kick-off, all people in the stadium offered a silent prayer for the victims of the series of terrorist attacks in Paris.

In the other match of Group E, Syria beat Singapore 2-1 to secure the second place with 15 points, trailing Japan by one point. Singapore have earned 10 points, followed by Afghanistan with six points and Cambodia with no points after the seven straight losses. The rest of the two second round matches will be held in March next year.

Match detail

Coach and Players' Comments

Vahid HALILHODZIC, Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
We won, but I am not satisfied at all with the first half. We tried out variety of players that don’t supplement each other, so we were in chaos in the first half. I am responsible for that. Our balance got better in the second half and we started feeding balls to sides and behind their defence. We created big chances, but we could have scored a little more.

In the half time, I told my players to get it going with Kashiwagi and Yamaguchi, use diagonal balls and send passes to the space behind opposing defenders. I also told Kagawa to move differently from Okazaki. I would like to congratulate my players, but we have to get better.

DF NAGATOMO Yuto (FC Internazionale Milano/Italy)
I have played the right full-back position for Inter, so it didn’t bother me starting off the match. The artificial pitch was difficult for me to handle. That stopped us from moving the ball around quickly. Especially in the first half, we couldn’t play good football. Our opponents worked hard and took care of the sides, so we couldn’t break them down with our combination. That gives us something to work on later. We need to step up our game.

MF KASHIWAGI Yosuke (Urawa Reds)
Watching the first half, we were telling each other on the bench that the pitch was bad, it was difficult for us to use quick short passes, and it would be effective to send balls to behind the defenders and attack for the second ball. I think that worked out well. Even when we kicked it up, I know it would stop earlier eventually. So I intentionally kept kicking it more strongly.

FW MINAMINO Takumi (Salzburg/Austria)
My playing time was short, but I could touch the ball so I strongly feel I could have done something more in that short period of time. Experiencing a difficult match like this gave us a valuable experience useful for the rest of Asian qualifiers.

FW HONDA Keisuke (AC Milan/Italy)
I didn’t expect to score in five straight matches. The opponents were tired, so my goal came at a good timing. The takeaway from today is how we played in the first half. We lacked variety in our plays. Almost all players played, so I think the coach knew something like this would happen before making that kind of line-up decision. I think we should give him credit for taking risks as a coach, and the fact that all players are getting a chance to play strengthens the trust between the coach and the players.

GK NISHIKAWA Shusaku (Urawa Reds)
We were expecting that they would slow down eventually, so it was important that we held them scoreless in the first half. Our balance behind was bad and the way we were losing balls was bad, but it was good that we could leave a good result in that difficult situation given.

Lee TAE HOON, Coach (Cambodia National Team)
Our players were still tired from playing a match after match, but they played with their 200% and I am thankful for that. Allowing many goals will bring down your motivation to go on, so we played with paying attention to our defensive balance to avoid it. I want my players to keep in mind many of what they learned from Japanese players.

JFA-TV (Japanese version only)


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 3-0 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 2-0 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
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