Kubo Takefusa, 22, a member of the Japanese national soccer team who plays for Real Sociedad in the Spanish League, played until the 31st minute of the second half against Benfica in the European Champions League (CL) on October 24. Kubo was named Man of the Match for his performance in the match against Benfica, a team that has reached the top eight in the CL in two consecutive seasons. After the game, Kubo was proud of his performance.
If I had scored the goal, I would have been the king.
Kubo was also visible in Japan’s friendly matches in September and October, but he is still ahead of Takumi Minamino (28), who plays for Monaco in France, in the Moriyasu Japan squad! Kubo’s shocking current position in the Japan national team has been revealed as follows.
Kubo was certainly active in the match against African World Cup regulars Tunisia (Kobe, October 17). Kubo started in the top half, a position he says he is most comfortable playing, and was involved in all two goals in the match. After the game, Kubo was confident in his performance.
I think I’ve moved up a little bit in the pecking order,” Kubo said confidently after the match. I’m hoping for that, and we’ll see what happens.
However, these expectations are likely to end in disappointment for Kubo at this point. A senior official of the Japan Football Association (JFA), who observed the match against Tunisia, said, “If he plays at the top position, Kubo would be a good fit for the team.
The JFA official who observed the Tunisia game said, “At the moment, Minami is better than Kubo at the top of the lineup. He was too strong against Canada and Tunisia, but he can do anything when he gets into the penalty area. If Kubo is used up top in the World Cup qualifiers, I think he will have a hard time.
Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu dared to call up Minamino, who had not been called up since last year’s World Cup in Qatar, despite the fact that it was a friendly match in Japan. Takumi was doing well in the league games,” said Moriyasu, who had visited France to observe the matches. Minamino played in two consecutive games in October. In the game against Canada on October 13, he started at inside half and in the top half. Kubo started on the bench and did not play in this match.
Minami’s performance in this game and against Tunisia was certainly not spectacular, but he clearly had the idea to get into the penalty area,” said Kubo. His dedication to the team also played a big part in the four goals scored against Canada,” said a JFA official.
Against Tunisia, which was played three days later, Kubo started at the top of the lineup. When Kubo had the ball in the center of the field, the opposing defenders put pressure on him. Kubo was the starting point, and he sought to create space by moving to either side or dropping down a row to demand the ball. He tried to pry the ball away with his usual technique, but he could not break the opposition down by himself. In the past, Moriyasu Japan would have started the first half with an onslaught based on the speed of both sides (Kaoru Mitoma on the left side and Junya Ito on the right side). This was clearly not the usual form of Japan’s national team.
In the 43rd minute of the first half, Japan’s first goal was scored by Kyogo Furuhashi after Hidemasa Morita, who started the game in the volante position, and Kubo, who dropped down a row, connected with Reo Hatate, who followed him in the top down position. In the second goal in the 24th minute of the second half, Kubo did indeed cut in from the left side, but Morita was in a hurry to follow up on the empty space at the top of the Japanese line. Kubo’s play threw Japan off balance, but Ito’s goal was the result of Morita and Ito’s careful filling in of a space up top that should have been occupied by Kubo.
Japan struggled in the first half against Tunisia. The reason for that was that we couldn’t play the ball to Kubo (in the top half). Instead of breaking into the penalty area to deal with their back five, he tried to get the ball in various positions. It was at Kubo’s place that the balance of Japan’s attack, which had previously scored four or more goals, was disrupted. Kubo is a player who lives in a style that gathers the ball to him, but in the first half against Tunisia, the good part of Moriyasu Japan, the breakthrough by Ito (Junya, Stade de Lance 30), disappeared,” said the JFA official calmly.
Now in its fifth year, Moriyasu’s team slogan, “From good defense to good attack,” is now in the update phase, as the team prepares for the 2026 World Cup in North and Central America, where they hope to “overwhelm their opponents no matter who they play with or how they play. Based on the belief that this could be done, he set the ultimate team goal of “winning the next World Cup.
The main feature of the attack is the tactic of making the most of the talents on both sides of the field: Mitomo (26, Brighton, England) on the left side, who breaks through from his transformational dribble, and Ito on the right side, who uses his explosive speed to overtake his opponents in an instant.
Kubo’s ball technique against Tunisia was certainly one of his strengths, and he was able to outpace his opponents and compete physically as well. However, at the moment, he is not a better individual player than Misumi and Ito. Some believe that Kubo’s style of “king’s play,” in which he tries to gather passes to himself as he does at his club, is the reason for his tendency to bring that style to the national team.
The national team’s mission is to win every game. The style of play that Kubo continues to follow at Sociedad is too scary to be used by the national team. Kubo’s current style of play at Sociedad is not suitable for the national team. What I mean is that if Kubo is stopped by the opposing defense, there will be nothing to do. As long as it is Moriyasu Japan, I don’t think Kubo will be a mainstay in the top half,” he continued. “It will be tough for Kubo to move up the ranks in Moriyasu Japan unless he abandons his kingly play and sticks to team play more than he did against Tunisia.
Still, if Kubo continues to insist on playing “king” for Japan like Sociedad, the only way he can “move up the pecking order,” as Kubo puts it, is to replace Moriyasu due to poor results, which is the only thing I can see at the moment.