Inevitable Asia Cup Exit: Troussier Unveils Weaknesses in Moriyasu’s Japan | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Inevitable Asia Cup Exit: Troussier Unveils Weaknesses in Moriyasu’s Japan

Why was Vietnam, ranked 94th in FIFA, able to catch Japan, ranked 17th?

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Troussier (right) became national coach of Japan in ’98 after serving as national coach of South Africa.’ He led the national team to the last 16 of the 2002 World Cup for the first time in its history.” He has been in his current position since 2011. Our goal was to get the Vietnamese national team to their first World Cup.

It was a complete defeat. Especially in the second half, we were on the defensive.

In added time, the defense finally gave up and gave up a penalty kick to Iran. Moriyasu’s team, which had been tasked with becoming Asian champions in order to reach the last eight of the World Cup, suffered the humiliation of being eliminated in the last eight of the Asian Cup.

The second Moriyasu Japan team had been hailed by the sports media as the “strongest national team in history” after defeating Germany and other powerhouses in international friendlies.

However, the flaws in the team’s performance were obvious, and there was no way the opposing countries would overlook them when it came to serious competition. For example, the Vietnamese team that clashed with Japan in the Asian Cup group league, although ranked 94th and 17th in the FIFA rankings and far below Japan, scored two goals to take a temporary lead over Japan, only to suffer a 2-4 setback and come up short in a close game.

The coach of the Vietnam national team is Philippe Troussier (68), who led Japan to victory in the 2000 Asian Cup. The coach, who knows Japan well, dared to point out the weaknesses of his old team.

He said, “Going into the Asian Cup, I watched all of Japan’s games and decided to build a defensive block in the midfield. The goal was to break up Japan’s attack. We will press from the middle zone and force them to attack from behind. Given the power relationship, Vietnam would spend 70% of their time defending, so I asked the team to remain disciplined and organized.

Iran, the team that beat Japan, adopted the same strategy. With their midfield locked up, the Japanese team lacked offensive depth and were forced to back-pass the ball on numerous occasions. Troussier was proud of his team’s ability to press with a defensive line set up high up in the mid-zone, “We succeeded in disrupting Japan’s signature style of short passing and attacking at full stretch,” he said.

Japan’s team doesn’t kick long balls, so it was easy for us to control the game,” said Troussier. We paid attention to dangerous players such as Nakamura Takato (23) and Ito Junya (30), and we shared information that left back Ito Hiroki (24) had a tendency to cut inside, but we had no special strategy for individual players.

We took advantage of every situation to score.

Set pieces were especially important, and Vietnam’s two goals came from a CK and an FK. Troussier admitted, “Vietnam does not have a good striker, so we carefully prepared for set pieces, which are our only weapon to create danger for our opponents.

The first CK was aimed at the near post. The second goal was a small mistake by Japan, as their defenders lacked concentration on the second ball. Against Iraq, they scored from an FK. Throughout the tournament, Vietnam scored four goals, three of which came from set pieces.

They lack confidence.”

After boasting of this, Troussier pointed out “three holes that Japan needs to fill.

If I had to point out a weakness, it would be the defense,” he said. This was evident in the fact that Japan easily conceded two goals against Vietnam. First, the goalkeeper, Saiyon Suzuki (21), lacks experience. Second, young defenders such as Ito lack confidence. Third, the transition from defense to attack is not as smooth as it should be. This is an issue that Japan must overcome if they are to win the Asian championship.

Troussier did not forget to follow up on his “old enemy,” however, saying that Japan had a weapon that Vietnam did not have.

Japan’s second goal against Vietnam came from Takumi Minamino (29), who quickly controlled the ball after connecting passes; the third was the result of Nakamura’s individual skill, and the fourth by Kise Ueda (25) was likewise an “explosion of individual power. Tactically, we responded to all of Japan’s attacks, but it was our individual power that beat Vietnam.

After praising their attacking ability,

After praising their offensive ability, he added, “I also said, ‘Don’t beat Japan! I also told them not to beat Japan,” Troussier said mischievously.

Troussier smiled mischievously.

I thought that if Vietnam beat Japan, the Vietnamese media would definitely say that Japan was a terrible team (laughs). If Vietnam wins, they will say their opponents were terrible, and if they lose, they will say they were terrible, but the truth about soccer is not that simple.
What is needed for Japan to advance to the top 8 or top 4 of the World Cup from here on …… team quality depends on its engine, its driving force. In other words, the power of the players. A good team has well-known players who play for big European clubs. They play in the Champions League all the time. How many members of the Japanese national team play in the Champions League? Takehiro Tomiyasu (25) of Arsenal and Takefusa Kubo Takefusa (22) of Real Sociedad ……. When seven or eight Japanese play for big clubs and become regular participants in the Champions League, Japan will have reached a new step forward.

There is no time to stand still. There is no time to stand still; the only way forward is to take the humiliation as food for thought.

Defender Masakuma Chenya (26, right), goalkeeper Suzuki (center), and the rest of the defense were at the mercy of Iran’s long-ball attack and conceded a fatal penalty kick.
Ito (center) was not as aggressive as usual, and defender Itakura Koh (27) was lackluster, but coach Hajime Moriyasu (55) stubbornly continued to use him.

From the February 23, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • Reporting and writing Shuichi Tamura Photographed by Watanabe Koji

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