Asian soccer power Japan suffer reality check on global stage

Picture expired. Japan's forward Shinji Kagawa walks on the pitch during an official training session at The Pantanal Arena in Cuiaba on June 23, 2014 AFP

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  • 1

    jerseyboy

    “After I’d said Japan would win the tournament, in the end it finished with just empty talk,” said Honda.

    Good to see the players making an honest assessment of their performance instead of making a bunch of excuses. Hope it results in some real progress for them.

  • 2

    Jimizo

    More sober football watchers outside Japan rated them as about 50/50 to get out if that group. To be honest, given that very tight group, their elimination can't be called a shock ( most bookies odds had Japan to finish third in that group ). Good to hear Honda and Kagawa giving honest and pretty damning assessments. It was a brutal reality check for Japan and hopefully we'll see a positive reaction from the players under the new manager.

  • -6

    timtak

    a limp display

    I still think that they were very good, controlling possession in against three teams that were far higher in the rankings than themselves. They just need a few star players (who at the moment are being snapped up by baseball squads) and they will whip for example the European champions, Greece.

  • 6

    David Varnes

    The key thing I would say is, nex time, rather than filling the airwaves, the newspapers, and every other chance you have to boast, brag, and predict...... shut up and produce results.

    All the boastful predictions, all the hype, all the pre-tournament stuff not only overinflated the expectations of the general public, but it has a bleed on effect on the team itself. Next time, keep quiet, say nothing, and let your performance on the competition area do the talking. Time for commercials, endorsements and such is AFTER you win.... not before.

  • 3

    yildiray

    The JFA need to stop scheduling friendlies with "easy victory" teams - how is the national team going to improve if you don't try taking on bigger teams? The unfortunate truth is that a majority of Japanese fans only want to see a team that is winning - this keeps the country trapped in a vicious circle since the JFA wants money from tickets and merchandise etc.

  • 3

    FullM3taL

    I personally do think that Japan has made progress, but the rest of the world progressed much faster. Modern football can be summed up in one word - intense. If players lack that intensity on the pitch, they will be over-run, as aptly demonstrated by Colombia's demolition of Japan. Swiftness, Incisiveness and creativity are some of the attributes of the game that Japan lacks. Hopefully the next WC will be a better opportunity for Japan to showcase it's footballing talent and prowess.

  • 2

    Benji7

    Football evolves quickly. Spanish tikitaka football enabled and aspired Asian players to adopt this style which suits small fast skillful players, its no coincidence that as teams are starting to figure out how to beat Spain and their tikitaka, sees the downfall of Spain and teams like Japan who benefited from this style. Teams like the Dutch, France, Germany, Brazil with their power, speed and directness will dominate going forward..

  • -2

    ribstick

    Start importing players from other countries. The Americans did it with a few of their German players.

  • 2

    Kuribo1

    I think they honestly are a good team that just happened to really suck this year.

  • 4

    AKB49er

    Colombia players were harder, better, faster, stronger. Better luck next time.

  • 2

    The Original Wing

    AKB49er: Colombia players were harder, better, faster, stronger.

    I agree. Japan would have to get lucky in order to beat them.

  • 1

    jaywilam

    Ribstick is correct. Japan need to have few naturalised strikers. See how France, Germany, England teams have change their colour balance? Few years ago none had black players though they are not imports but the immigrant children. So far we haven't seen a real star yet in J-league.

  • 2

    ThonTaddeo

    “I hope we see new heroes play for Japan in the future, kids who are at primary school now.”

    Is 26-year-old Atsuto Uchida serious with this?

    I understand that you're exhausted after those three matches and after falling short again. But at age 26, with a least a decade of good soccer still in you, you're talking about giving up?

    And then telling us fans to look

    Remember 43-year-old Faryd Mondragon, who came onto the pitch for the last ten minutes of the Colombia game (and made a nice save against your squad)? He's someone who, after two decades of world-class goalkeeping in top-flight leagues in several different countries, would be talking about retiring. He has given his all and is still out there helping propel Colombia to the round of 16.

    It's the veterans ten years your senior who make the difference. Drogba did it to your squad; Ronaldo set up the huge tying goal against the USA, and MIroslav Klose might well set the goal-scoring record tomorrow. Japan will never have such difference-makers if they all give up while not yet thirty.

    And you're ready to throw in the towel and cede your hopes to some hypothetical schoolboys whose hopes lie 20 years in the future. Yes, Uchida-san, the road is long. A lot longer than you think -- but the players named above are showing us what lies at the end of it, and your squad will never get there if you give up this early.

  • 3

    GW

    Japan as others have correctly stated needs to STOP the BS build up in Japan before hand, Japan is a small fish in a BIG pond, much better to be glad your competing in Asia & going in as an underdog rather than these wildly optimistic expectations.

    And for petes sake get some strikers who can strike otherwise nothing will ever change

  • -4

    maglev101

    Ribstick is correct. Japan need to have few naturalised strikers. See how France, Germany, England teams have change their colour balance? Few years ago none had black players though they are not imports but the immigrant children. So far we haven't seen a real star yet in J-league.

    don't know what you are talking about, but a few years ago (when zidane was playing), i remember 75-80% of the french national team was made up of black or north african players. looked more like the french congo team. so in order to be legit, japan should have black players?

  • 2

    kaimycahl

    Too weak not physical enough!!!

  • 2

    MASSWIPE

    "Regional bully boys or serious contenders on the international stage?"

    Interesting opening line. Analysts of great power politics were probably asking a similar question about Japan in the 1930s. Answer turned out to be the same then as for football now--more of the former and not really the latter.

  • 1

    ka_chan

    Japan problem is they can't get the ball in the net. It doesn't matter how good your ball handling is if you can't get the ball in the net. In the game against Ivory Coast, Japan controlled the ball for 75% of the game and lost. Unfortunately, it was unusual for Japan to score. It was also unusual that the goal keeper had to handle a shot. They usually went wide or over even when inside the box. Until Japan gets at least 3 players that can get the ball in the net when inside the box, it is hopeless. They also have only 2 years to do that. And really, they need a better name, it's just too pretentious.

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