Moriyasu Japan is playing a hotly contested match in Qatar. While they scored a big win against Germany in their first match, they were defeated by Costa Rica in their second match without scoring a goal. With only three points, Japan is in danger of being eliminated from the tournament.
Looking back on the fierce competition, sportswriter Yusuke Mimura says, “These were two games in which Hajime Moriyasu (54)’s leadership was very different from the others.
Group League Game 1
The reason for the win against Germany was undoubtedly the system change at the start of the second half, when we boldly switched from a back four to a back three, which sparked a comeback. Coach Moriyasu has always said that our ability to correct the situation was a problem. His record in the last 13 matches in which he has been ahead is 2-1-10. His winning percentage is the worst among the last five national team coaches. However, in this match, he made a courageous decision and clinched a historic victory. It should not be overlooked that Doan (Ritsu, 24) and Asano (Takuma, 28) scored in the middle of the game.
On the other hand, questions remain about the team’s performance against Costa Rica.
We changed five members of the starting lineup from the game against Germany. Rotation is necessary, but was it necessary to change so much? The player substitutions were also backward. We should have given clear instructions to the players to attack mainly with Misuzu (Kaoru, 25), whom the opponents had not been able to handle. Furthermore, if Minamino (Takumi Minami, 27), who can jump in front of the goal, had been brought on earlier instead of 37 minutes into the second half, there would have been more chances,” said Mimula.
I hope that Moriyasu will once again show his courageous leadership in order to advance to the final tournament.
Group League Game 2
Japan vs. Costa Rica
0 – 1
Fateful match against Spain.
Key players to watch out for
The third group league match against Spain will kick off at 4:00 a.m. on December 2. To advance through the “group of death,” defeat is absolutely unacceptable. Jun Nakayama, a sportswriter, says, “How to control the captain of the invincible squad” is the key issue.
Midfielder Sergio Busquets (34) is the embodiment of Spanish passing soccer. He will try to create gaps in Japan’s defensive formation by scattering effective passes to the left and right. In order to take away Busquets’ freedom, Germany placed their midfielders up top in the second match and had them mark Busquets. This way of playing should be used as a reference. It is important for Kamata (Daichi, 26), who will be matched up with Busquets, to keep putting hard pressure on him.
The key to Spain’s attack will be their ace, who has been in great form in two consecutive group matches.
Forward Alvaro Morata (30) is a genuine scorer, always ready to play the game. In the Japanese defense, I have high expectations for Itakura (Koh, 25). I think the key will be how tenaciously he can mark Morata’s opponents,” said Nakayama.
If the heart of the team and the ace can be contained, the risk of goals being scored will be drastically reduced. What should Japan aim for in order to win?
Spain has a compact formation and uses a lot of short passes, so their defensive line is very high. Spain’s defensive line is very high because of their compact formation and short passing style, and there is vast space behind it. Also, there are many injuries, and Rhodri (26), who plays midfield for his team, is playing center back. Whether Asano and Maeda (Dainichi, 25) can take advantage of their speed and exploit the back of the line will be the deciding factor.
All of Japan is hoping for a repeat of the “joy of Doha.
Alvaro Morata (30) FWB
Sergio Busquets (34) midfielder
RODRI (26) DF
From the December 16, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： JMPA Representative Photography (1st~3rd, 5th) Chikara Takasu (4th) Getty Images (6th) Afro (7th~8th)