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Japan was caught in ‘Korea’s trap.’
The Japanese national soccer team A, led by coach Hajime Moriyasu, will play the final match of Group D of the Qatar Asian Cup against Indonesia at Altumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on the 24th (Korean time). The situation is desperate for victory. Japan won 4-2 over Vietnam in the first match of the group stage. Although they were down 1-2 at one point, they won with the European team taking the lead. However, in the second game against Iraq, they bowed 1-2. Japan suffered from the opponent's sharp counterattack and shed tears due to the strong defensive wall. Japan has 1 win and 1 loss and is ranked 2nd in Group D. The fate of the round of 16 will be decided based on the results of the final match.
Japan's fate depends on how it overcomes the 'Korean trap'. Japan's final opponent is Indonesia. It is led by coach Shin Tae-yong. Of course, when looking at objective power alone, Japan is overwhelmingly ahead. Japan is 17th in the FIFA rankings as of December 2023. It is the highest among countries in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). He is a strong candidate to win this competition. Japan filled 20 of the 26 final roster players with European players, including Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad), Wataru Endo (Liverpool), Go Itakura (Mönchengladbach), and Takumi Minamino (AS Monaco). On the other hand, Indonesia ranks 146th, the lowest in the group.
Japan was filled with a sense of crisis after losing in the previous match against Jordan. Japanese players trained at the Al Ersal training site in Doha, Qatar, on the 22nd. I warmed up for about 25 minutes by running. Afterwards, we conducted private tactical training for about 50 minutes. After training, the players finished the training by learning their shooting skills individually. At a press conference held after training, Kubo said, "Indonesia seems to be a completely different type of team. We need to make sure they don't fall behind from the beginning." Itakura expressed caution, saying, “Indonesia has a lot of young players. I felt there were a lot of players with good speed.”
Japanese reporters at the scene knew Director Shin Tae-yong well. Coach Shin mentioned Korea's victory over Germany at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. However, they remembered another record. Multiple reporters said, "Coach Shin lost to Japan before the Rio Olympics. He will not like Japan. Takuma Asano (Bochum), who scored two goals at the time, is also active in the national team this time." Coach Shin clashed with Japan when he was the head coach of the Korea Under-23 (U-23) national team. They competed in the final of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship, which was held as the final Asian qualifier for the Rio Olympics. At that time, Korea led 2-0 but lost 2-3.
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Wednesday, January 24, 2024