The first half effort led to the second half. The hard work in the first half led to the victory in the second half. I hope we can get a new view beyond the top eight.
At the post-match press conference, Hajime Moriyasu, 54, expressed his determination in his words, “This is truly a historic achievement.
This is truly a historic accomplishment. In the third round of the Qatar World Cup group league, Japan faced an unbeatable Spanish team. Japan’s goal in the 11th minute was scored by Alvaro Morata (30), but goals by Ritsu Doan (24) and Ao Tanaka (24) in the second half turned the tide, and the Japanese team topped the “group of death,” defeating Germany and Spain, who had previously won the World Cup. Soccer journalist Atsushi Nakayama said of the victory: “The biggest reason for the win, of course, was Moriyasu’s goal.
The biggest reason for the victory was Moriyasu’s leadership. In this game, he played with a back five. The first priority was to minimize the number of goals conceded by the defense. Against Spain, it is tough to be aggressive throughout the 90 minutes. Then, in the second half, we shifted to attack. I think the inclusion of Misuzu (Kaoru Mitsuzumi, 25) and Doan after halftime was an indication of this intention. The fact that we were able to follow Mr. Moriyasu’s plan brought us the victory.
Three players were key players in the match.
The tactics in the first half and the second half are different, so I would like to mention each of them. First, the key players in the first half were FW Maeda (Daisuke, 25) and midfielder Morita (Hidemasa, 27). These two were just tenacious in their defensive efforts. It was especially significant that they did not let Sergio Busquets (34), the starting point of Spain’s attack in the midfield, go free.
In the second half, it would be Doan, after all. His first chance to score the first goal was really significant. That single goal turned the game in Japan’s favor,” said Nakayama.
Japan’s first match of the final tournament will kick off at midnight Japan time on December 6. Their opponent will be Croatia, the runner-up in the previous tournament. It is a match against a strong opponent, but Nakayama says that if Japan plays its original style, the result will follow.
Moriyasu, who has been reluctant to make substitutions in the past, is actively changing tactics and replacing players in this tournament,” said Nakayama. And his plans have been working. The bench work is good, and both players and coach are playing with confidence. In the game against Croatia, I hope they will play their own style from the first half, rather than the defensive approach they showed against Germany and Spain. If we can play to our ability, I don’t think we are an opponent we can’t beat.”
Moriyasu Japan, with their giant-killing spirit, will surely achieve their long-cherished goal of reaching the last eight of the World Cup.
Photo： Photo by JMPA representative