Japan’s Daichi Kamata says, “We can beat Germany and Spain
One month and a half before the start of the World Cup in Qatar, "Moriyasu Japan's savior" reveals the "evolution" of Japan's national team.
Japan’s national soccer team is on a tour of Europe in preparation for the World Cup in Qatar, which opens on November 20. Moriyasu Japan played against the United States (September 23) and Ecuador (September 27), both of which will participate in the World Cup, and finished with one win and one draw.
This was the last training camp before the announcement of the 26-member squad on November 1, so it attracted a lot of attention, and midfielder Daichi Kamada (26) has quickly risen in stature as a key member of the attacking lineup.
He has already scored a team-leading four goals in the German First Division this season, and in the 25th minute of the first half against the U.S., he scored the first goal with his best right foot. Kamata, who took a team-high five shots, reflected on the game without hesitation.
It would have been easier if I had scored the second goal earlier, but my job was to show up for my chances. As the team had hoped, we were able to play a compact game and short counters worked well.
The second row consisted of Kamata in the center, Takefusa Kubo Takefusa (21, Real Sociedad) on the left, and Junya Ito (29, Stade de Reims) on the right, a rare combination, but Kamata was confident that he could play with anyone.
I myself have played on the left side half for Frankfurt, so when Takefusa came into the center of the field, I stayed on the left. The national team now has many players who can create chances, so I was more conscious of myself as a finisher than a set-up player. I understand how to change my game depending on who I am playing with.
In the following match against Ecuador, Hajime Moriyasu replaced 11 starters from the U.S. team with a “B team,” so to speak, and some questioned the coach’s decision to go with the “B team,” but midway through the second half, Hajime Moriyasu’s team was able to win the game. However, when Kamata replaced midfielder Takumi Minamino (27, Monaco) at the top of the lineup midway through the second half, the attack was revitalized.
Kamata himself seemed to feel a positive response to the fact that he was able to make his presence felt once again.
I thought it would be difficult for me to take over as a substitute in a difficult game, but I was able to create some good scenes,” he said.
Although he experienced the humiliation of being left out of the squad for the final Asian qualifying round, it is fair to say that he has established himself as a key player in the attack during this European tour. He was proud of the fact that he was used at the top of the 4-2-3-1 formation for the first time in a long time, saying, “It definitely gave me an option.
I think I definitely showed one option,” he said. However, Germany and Spain (who we will play at the World Cup) are of higher quality than the U.S., and it is up to the coach to find the best answer depending on the opponent. It is important for the players to prepare good options for the team.
Kamata cited the match on the day the Japanese team played the U.S., in which Germany lost to Hungary, a lower-ranked local team.
Hungary was very aggressive, and Germany looked like they were having a hard time,” he said. Germany has a great lineup, but some of the players are not doing well in their current teams. （They are not the same as the Germans when they were really strong (who won the World Cup in Brazil in 2002).
He also dismissed the ball-holding, possession football that Spain excels at, saying, “I don’t think it has anything to do with modern soccer.
Just as we struggled in the final qualifying round in Asia when our opponents pulled back, it will be difficult for Germany and Spain if they pull back against Japan. I think we have a chance to win.”
Kamata’s Frankfurt teammate Makoto Hasebe (38), who served as captain at three World Cups, accompanied the team for three days in an advisory capacity. When asked about this by reporters, Kamata snapped back, “It’s been five or six years (since we last met).
I’ve been working with the same team for five or six years now. I am not the type to listen to my seniors when they tell me what I should do or how I should do it. I didn’t really listen to what Mr. Hasse had to say.
Kamata, who plays aloof and somewhat coolly, has been praised for his calm play, but he has also been criticized for his lack of intensity.
His first goal for Frankfurt last season came in the 16th minute against Borussia MG on December 15, and even though he hadn’t scored anything in attack up to that point, he was always in the starting lineup, which means that he was doing a good job in other areas of his game. He was always in the starting lineup, even though he had not been particularly successful in the attack until then.
His cool, almost salt-of-the-earth response revealed a glimpse of intense pride. Kamata’s explosion will be indispensable for Japan’s bid to reach the last eight at the World Cup for the first time in their history, as coach Moriyasu praises his “ability to create pressure up front and his power to get in front of the goal.
From the October 21, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
Interview and text： Masao Kurihara Photography： Watanabe Koji