Another Reason” for Kubo Takefusa’s Slip into Japan’s National Team
The World Cup, which is held every four years to decide the world’s top soccer nation, will begin in the Middle East nation of Qatar on April 20. Midfielder Kubo Takefusa, 21, was selected as one of the 26 members of Japan’s national team. He has been a mainstay for Real Sociedad in Spain’s first division this season, but his reputation in the national team is not at the top level, and he is low in the “pecking order” set by coach Hajime Moriyasu (54). However, as we interviewed the people around him, a certain “love affair” emerged.
Compared to Hidetoshi Nakata, who made his first appearance at the World Cup at the age of 21, the two were not as close in terms of age.
Kubo, who was selected for the World Cup for the first time, is the youngest player on the team at 21. He was 21 when he made his first appearance on the big stage at the 1998 World Cup in France, the same year Hidetoshi Nakata made his first appearance.
Kubo is certainly good,” said Hidetoshi Nakata, who was 21 when he played for France at the 1998 World Cup. Hide (Hidetoshi Nakata), who was 21 when he played for France, was not only good but also strong. He never fell down during play because of the pressure of the opponent. That is why he was recognized in the national team. However, I don’t feel that Kubo is strong. If he were a strong player, even Real Madrid would not have sent him on loan,” said an alumnus of the national team who has participated in the World Cup.
Moriyasu is the first Japanese coach to build a team for the World Cup in four years. He has maintained a policy of not keeping his star players or mainstays in the team. He has also maintained the “pecking order” in player selection. This is evident in the 26 players selected for this year’s team. He has given Kubo a double circle for his technique and dribbling, but has also asked him many times over the past four years to “push harder” and to “play the full 90 minutes.
Kubo’s physicality is weak,” he said. Kubo said, “Most of the times when I am knocked down, it is a foul. Kubo himself insists that his current physicality is sufficient for the job.
Kubo’s main position is as a top attacking midfielder, which is called a commanding position. The second position is occupied by Takumi Minamino, who played at the bottom of the lineup before Kamata. For Kubo, a lefty, the right side of the second row gives him more freedom to play with his left foot, which is his dominant foot, and it is easier for him to move the ball. However, this position was won by Junya Ito, who scored many goals in the hard-fought final qualifying round for the World Cup in Asia.
Minamino is the first choice on the left flank, and Kaoru Mitoma, who has been scoring goals in the middle of the field as the second choice, is rapidly gaining recognition. Veteran Tokyo Olympics lefty Ritsu Doan can also play on both the right and left flanks, and is regarded by some as having a similar style of play to Kubo’ s. Kubo’s ranking in the midfield pecking order should be 6th or 7th.
Kubo started on the left flank on the September tour of Germany (against the U.S.). It was Kubo’s final test in this position, but it was also a 2-0 win against a strong U.S. team, and that is one of the reasons why he slipped into the national team.
However, even before Japan’s World Cup squad was announced on November 1, many soccer magazines were writing that Kubo’s inclusion in the national team was not a “strong” but a “sure thing. Why is this? The reason is closely related to the sales of Japan’s replica uniforms, and it is highly possible that the large sales of these uniforms played a role in Kubo’s selection for the national team.
Japan’s national soccer team has renewed its uniforms for the first time in three years for the World Cup, with a design based on the traditional Japanese craft of origami. The replica uniforms went on sale on August 29.
After two months of sales, a Dentsu official in charge of the team’s marketing confessed, “The top three sales so far have been for a long time.
The top three sellers so far are Kubo Takefusa, Junya Ito, and Takumi Minamino.
The replica uniform sales strategy has been so centered on Kubo that it can be called the “Kubo Takefusa Project,” rather than Ito and Minamino, who have won the first place in the “pecking order” by virtue of their abilities. Before the tour to Germany in September, when the performance in the match was considered to be a major factor in the final selection of the team members, only Kubo appeared as a guest online from the field in Spain, albeit in the wee hours of the morning.
Kubo was more relaxed than usual, saying, “I’m really sorry, but I’m not good at origami…I’m clumsy with my hands,” and he wowed the audience.
Sales of replica uniforms are still one of the JFA’s biggest “dollar-box” items, and the 2002 Japan-Korea tournament was modeled on the PR strategy of Shunsuke Nakamura, 44, who retired from active duty at the end of this season. Shunsuke Nakamura, 44, who retired at the end of the season, was used as a PR model for the sales strategy. The Japan Soccer World Cup, held for the first time in Japan, coincided with Troussier’s Japan’s rapid success, and it is said that over 600,000 uniforms for the Japanese national soccer team were sold, making it one of the biggest hits of the year. The sales of replica uniforms, which cost 14,000 yen per piece at the time, alone exceeded 800 million yen. The sales of the replica uniforms alone, which cost 14,000 yen each at the time, exceeded 800 million yen.
Adidas Japan, which manufactures the uniforms, has been a supplier to the JFA since 1999, and the contract has been reviewed every two World Cup tournaments. The current contract, which runs through the end of December 2022, is said to be worth a total of over 25 billion yen over a period of about seven years, making it the envy of every sports organization. Nike, a rival manufacturer, once offered more than this amount to the JFA, but a JFA official at the time rejected the offer, saying, “The relationship between the JFA and adidas is not linked only by the amount of money. The relationship between the JFA and adidas is one of mutual love and trust.
Kubo’s relationship with adidas is no different: in 2014, when he was 13 years old and a member of Barcelona’s lower division, Kubo was given the opportunity to play for the Spanish company adidas, which he did while he was still a member of the club. He signed a spike contract with Adidas in Spain when he was a member of Barcelona’s lower division at the age of 13 in 2014. But from January to the end of March 2018, when he returned from Spain and joined FC Tokyo, he wore black Nike spikes, and that itself attracted a lot of attention.
At last year’s Tokyo Olympics, he scored goals in three consecutive group league games, and in a televised flash interview immediately after the third game against France on July 28, he asked, “Can I just show your upper body (on the screen)? (Pointing to his feet) “It’s probably not good for sponsors, ” he said. Maya Yoshida, the captain of the team, was standing next to him and reminded him, “We definitely won’t show your feet. The fact that Kubo had non-Adidas shoes on his feet, and was aware of the risk of them being seen on TV with him, must have been a good thing for Adidas, which has a contract with Kubo.
In late August, before he was selected for Japan’s World Cup squad, Kubo made a comment at a uniform presentation that evoked a sense of crisis : “I’m hungry. Although he has been selected for Japan’s national team for a long time, he is not an unquestionably talented player, and he was selected even though he is still not in perfect physical condition, due in part to the dislocation of his left shoulder in late October. Kubo knows the position he is in better than anyone else. Kubo wears the number 11. Kubo wears number 11, a number that was beloved by Tomoyoshi Miura, who was not selected at the last minute at the 1998 World Cup in France, when Japan made its long-awaited first appearance at the World Cup. The number for the national team is up to the player himself, but he has the right to veto it. A source in the Japan Football Association said, “In the national team, everyone has a special number for Kazu.
After the World Cup in France, there were many players who felt intimidated by the idea of wearing number 11 and were not necessarily positive about wearing it, but Kubo was different.
Kubo’s selection for Japan’s World Cup team will continue the possibility of selling replica uniforms, and the Japan Football Association will be enriched as a result. Now all that remains is for Kubo to show his performance on the pitch that overturns the pecking order, and it will surely be a true “win-win” relationship between adidas and the JFA. ……