Moriyasu’s mentor reveals where Kubo is now: “There is no place for him in the current national team | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Moriyasu’s mentor reveals where Kubo is now: “There is no place for him in the current national team

The last two matches for the national team are a critical point.

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Japan’s national soccer team for the World Cup in Qatar in November will take on Ghana on June 10. The team members and the way they played against Brazil were considered to be the ones who would be ready for the World Cup, as Japan will be facing Germany and Spain in the first round of the World Cup. Former J-League coach Hidehiko Shimizu, who coached Moriyasu when he was a player, even suggested that he might not make the national team, saying, “If he doesn’t show his ability in the next round, I don’t know if he will even make the national team.

Unfortunately, Kubo has no place in the national team as it is. The game against Brazil showed once again that the pecking order has been set in coach Moriyasu’s mind. The team is able to turn without Kubo. Therefore, if Kubo does not make his presence felt next time, I think he could even be left out of Japan’s World Cup squad.

Shimizu stated this without hesitation.

Moriyasu played as a player for Kyoto and Sendai, both of which Shimizu coached during his playing days. When Moriyasu moved to Sendai, Shimizu approached him directly. Moriyasu also admires Shimizu as a leader, saying, “Shimizu was able to organize unique players. Although they do not always keep in touch, they have mutual respect for each other.

Kubo, who played for the prestigious Spanish club Barcelona from his childhood and has a promising future ahead of him, was the reigning ace of the U23 national team at the Tokyo Olympics last August. After losing to Mexico in the third-place game and missing out on a medal for the first time in 53 years, Kubo’s public display of frustration, as well as his tears, gave us hope that he will continue to make great strides in the years to come.

After the Olympics, he continued to play for Mallorca, to which he had been loaned by Real Madrid, but in September he injured his right knee and was out for about two months. He ended up scoring just one goal in the Spanish League.

I think he’s always been under pressure to show something,” he said. Kubo was the best player in Japan’s national team at the Tokyo Olympics, and the attack was built through the ball to Kubo. He can be at his best in situations where he touches the ball frequently.
 But after the Olympics, when the coach who used Kubo heavily in Mallorca (Luis Garcia) was dismissed in late March and replaced by former national team coach Aguirre, the elements required changed. Aguirre simply emphasized power, speed, and the ability to fight on the edge of the ball, so Kubo, who was perceived as ‘weak in defense,’ played less time and was unable to make an impact on the team,” said Shimizu.

In late May, Real Madrid won the Champions League (CL), Europe’s most prestigious competition. This added another layer of pressure to Kubo’s game.

Vinicius, the Brazilian who scored the game-winning goal, joined Real a year earlier than Kubo, and at the same age of 21, he made his breakthrough this year. On the other hand, Kubo scored only one goal for Mallorca. I think he has been made acutely aware of his current position and is feeling impatient.

When Kubo was forced to leave the field last fall with a right knee injury, Japan’s national team was also in trouble. After losing their first game in the Asian qualifying round for the World Cup in September of last year, the team had won one game and lost two by the end of the third round, and in the fourth game against Australia on October 12, there were whispers that coach Moriyasu would be dismissed if the team lost. After this match, the team made some tactical changes and replaced some players, and in the end, they came back from the brink to win six straight games. The team established a “solid defense and quick attack” strategy and qualified for its seventh consecutive World Cup.

The Japanese national team switched from a 4-2-3-1 double-volleyball system to a 4-3-3 triple-volleyball system, which has stabilized the defense. Also in the attacking lineup, Junya Ito, on the right side of the second row, scored a goal in four consecutive games with his explosive speed, and Takumi Minamino, who can pass and shoot evenly, was fixed on the left side of the second row. In this position, Kaoru Mitsumata, who can disrupt the opposing defense with his dribbling, has been a starter, and Ritsu Doan, who has scored 10 goals this season in the Dutch league, is also in the lineup.

 At the top of the lineup is Yuya Osako, whom Moriyasu has always trusted, and in his absence, there is also Kohashi Tohru and Maeda Daisuke, both of whom played in the Scottish League and can fill Ito and Minamino’s positions. They have proven that they can compete without Kubo. Furthermore, Daichi Kamata, who scored 11 goals in the Europa League (EL) to become the second Japanese player to win the EL, also returned to the national team this June after a long absence. Kubo is already fourth or fifth in the lineup now,” said Moriyasu.

Moriyasu’s Selection Process and the Possible Order of Japan’s Attacking Team

What criteria does Moriyasu use in selecting players?

I think he is looking for diligence in his selection of players for the national team,” said Kubo. There are those who say that Kubo could be used in Minamino’s position, but from my point of view, Minamino tries to do what Moriyasu wants, but Kubo sometimes puts his own ideas into it, so I think Moriyasu’s trust lies with Minamino.

What does he mean by “putting his own ideas into it”?

For example, the match against Brazil on March 6 was a “virtual Germany and Spain” game, as they were pushed into a corner for long periods of time. When the Brazilian side was pushed to the edge of their own goal in the 37th minute of the first half, Minami and Ito, who had started the game, returned to the final line to join the defense and save the day. This dedication is exactly what Moriyasu is looking for.

Kubo didn’t play against Brazil, so I can’t make a simple comparison,” said Moriyasu, “but if you look at all the games he has played in, I think he thinks, ‘If I go down to the last line, my good qualities will disappear. So when he goes on defense, he sometimes makes his own decision to leave the defense to other players in certain situations, and takes a position to prepare for opportunities after he gets the ball. On the flip side, it also means that I am giving the opponent space to attack. That is a bit out of line with Moriyasu’s policy of “doing things together as a team.

 Of course, Neymar of Brazil and Messi of Argentina also take such risks. But they bring results to the team in the form of goals when they have the chance. Unfortunately, I don’t think Kubo, who hasn’t been able to get results at his club, will be given that ‘privilege.

So how can Kubo rise to the top?

Kubo said, “Anyway, we need to get some results in the games against Ghana on March 10 and the last game on March 14. Then, in the new season with my club, I must make an impact that surpasses Kamata’s. Kamata was the first Asian player to win the EL.

Kamata scored 11 goals in the EL, the most of any Asian player in history, and also scored a goal in his first game back for the national team against Paraguay on February 2, but he was not able to start against Brazil. In other words, the pecking order of the players has been determined to some extent by Moriyasu. The only way to overturn that is to make up the numbers.

Kubo is only 21 years old. If he becomes the center of the national team in the near future, he and the Japanese soccer world will be happy. In that sense, I think what kind of season he has this year will be important.

It is no exaggeration to say that Kubo’s life in soccer will depend on the match on January 10.

Kubo (right) and coach Moriyasu during the first round of the Tokyo Olympics last summer. Can he regain this sense of trust?

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