SAMURAI BLUE’s Coach Moriyasu shares desire to “Display a performance that can deliver both victory and joy to our fans”
28 March 2023
On Monday 27 March, one day before their match against the Colombia National Team in the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2023, Head Coach MORIYASU Hajime of the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) appeared in a press conference held at the match venue, Yodoko Sakura Stadium in Osaka, where he shared his desire to “Display a performance that can deliver both victory and joy to our fans”
With their sights set on upgrading the team for the FIFA World Cup 2026™, the team is experimenting with a more attacking shape from this campaign, adopting new positions for their side-backs which should allow them to retain more possession of the ball. Following a 1-1 draw against Uruguay in the first match of the new regime on Friday, the team is now looking for its first win in its second match against Colombia.
At the official press conference, coach Moriyasu said that the team would “continue to take on challenges and build on the performance shown in the first match,” and expressed his intention to rotate players from the line-up against Uruguay.
Against Colombia, who are ranked 17th in the FIFA rankings, versus Japan, who are ranked 20th, the coach said, “We will have to fight hard for the ball and try to increase our recovery rate. We must also be careful of their sharp counterattacks.”
Colombia arrived in Japan after a match against Korea Republic on Friday, where they drew 2-2 with goals from James RODRIGUEZ (Olympiacos) and Jorge CARRASCAL (CSKA Moscow). Veteran striker Radamel FALCAO (Rayo Vallecano) is also still going strong.
Colombia missed out on the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ by finishing sixth in the South American qualifiers but have been preparing for the FIFA World Cup 2026™ since last June. Under the leadership of Argentine coach Nestor LORENZO, who served as assistant coach at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, the South American side are unbeaten in five matches so far, with three wins and two draws.
Japan's overall record against Colombia is one win, one draw, and three defeats. They lost 1-4 in their final group stage match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ but won 2-1 in their first match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. This is the first time the two will play each other since the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2019 in March 2019.
Ahead of the match, Coach Lorenzo said, “We are in the process of rebuilding the team and will be using many young players, but the game against Japan will be a great opportunity to see where we are, so we want to win this game.”
Coach Moriyasu, on the other hand, expressed his caution, saying, “With this being their second match, Colombia are in good condition. They are a much tougher opponent, with a better understanding of their team concept.”
The two teams held an official training session for the press at the match venue in the evening.
During the first 15 minutes, in which the session was opened to the media, the Japanese players were seen going through their warmup routines before engaging in passing and possession drills to work up a sweat.
When asked about the match, ITO Junya (Stade de Reims) said, “I think Colombia is a team that will fight hard for the ball, so we need to compete hard to win the ball against them. I also hope we can attack more than we did against Uruguay,” while MITOMA Kaoru (Brighton & Hove Albion FC) added, “I think it will be a more intense match, so I'm looking forward to seeing how much we can do there.”
The match between the SAMURAI BLUE and the Colombia National Team is scheduled to take place at Yodoko Sakura Stadium in Osaka with a kick-off time of 19:20 on Tuesday 28 March.
SAMURAI BLUE vs Colombia National Team
Date: Tuesday 28 March 2023, 19:20 (subject to change)
Venue: Yodoko Sakura Stadium, Osaka
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