I use to only go for the Japan National Football Team because of a player named Tamada, which roughly sounds like “f— your mother” in Mandarin.
However, this 2010 World Cup has really got me cheering on the Japanese team with proper passion and support.
I have been very impressed with the Japanese team’s playing style; reserved and conservative, playing hard defense and attacking hard on the fast breaks.
(Notice the coach very reserved with his cheering =P).
When I was reading the line-up, I was told that Shunsuke Nakamura was definitely a player to watch out for. I was also surprised that the Captain of the team, Goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi was not going to be the main/starting goalkeeper (Eiji Kawashima is).
After the win against Cameroon, which I didn’t watch, Keisuke Honda was apparently also a player to watch out for.
I checked the history of the Japanese team in the World Cup – their best result was in 2002 when they co-hosted with South Korea: 2nd round. I have been hoping that we will get to see more of Japan this time around!
Today’s game was a big one, Denmark vs Japan, whoever wins (or a draw for Japan) advances to the round of 16. According to the competition at work, the tippings between 43 participants was a pretty even split, half going for Denmark, half going for Japan.
Our team has a strength that others don’t have. We are truly united. We wanted to demonstrate that football is a team sport. This was our first objective (to reach the second round) so I am relieved. The players kept going until the end without losing their focus. I am proud to be with such a great bunch of players.
– Takeshi Okada, Japan coach
I got up at 4:30am on the dot today to catch this game, and I’m so glad I did. This match probably had one of the best, if not the best, first halves of the Round 1 matches in WC2010.
The first goal was at 17′, a long free kick by Honda straight into the goal, the second was at 30′, a curling free kick by Endo.
The Danes had a lot of chances to attack, and they did try, however they could not overcome the Japanese defense or their goalkeeper. Kawashima was excellent this game.
The reaction online by half time was that Japan pretty much had this in the bag already, but the fans wanted to see more goals. By the second half they brought in another striker, Shinji Okazaki who later sealed the deal at 87′ scoring Japan’s 3rd goal, assisted by Honda.
Denmark did get a goal by their Captain John Dahl Tomasson after being granted the penalty kick. However, the penalty was deflected, and it was a follow-up goal.
But what I really liked was how Japan controlled the game with basic football; quick short passes and good ball movement. Like I said, their defense was just excellent, every time the Danes are trying to shoot they were always outnumbered. This match is currently the top defending match – 12 saves and 7 blocked shots.
But most importantly, like coach Okada stated, they played as a team and as the commentator mentioned, as one-unit.
|Denmark (DEN)||Statistics||Japan (JPN)|
|7||Shots on goal||10|
|18||Free kicks Shots (scored)||13|
|0 / 1||Penalty Kicks (Goals/Shots)||0 / 0|
|0||Second yellow card and red card||0|
|37||Actual playing time||29|
The Samurai Blues have really done well and made themselves proud. I will be looking forward to their next game against Where’s Waldo, I mean Paraguay.
I will update the tippings later, Otsukaresama desu!