Football (Japan) Lost In Translation . . . Relaunched 2012!
Japan Football: Zaccheroni, Samurai Blue, and general J chatter
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In a perfect world...
One of my biggest pet peeves in football is people who say that if they were the manager they would certainly do better than the current manager (usually you hear this more in the national team, as the manager has a great selection of players to choose from). I think it's one of those arguments that deserves a "whatever" response, because having some ideal picture of what players to choose and how they would perform is never the same thing as actually having to deal with the confines of reality not only of the players as actual humans but the conditions of the game, the surrounding variables, etc.

But it is fun to create your own "best eleven" sometimes purely for entertainment, and debate about it among friends. A friend of this blog, TT (hi TT!) asked me who I'd like to see on the pitch if the World Cup were to start right now. Since we've been doing so many serious NT discussions, I thought it would be nice to take a breather and toss some names around.

It really depends on the opponent, but here are a few if-life-worked-out-the-way-you-wanted-it-to lineups.

------------- Yanagisawa
---------- Matsui -- Nakamura
-------------- HNakata
--------- Inamoto -- Fukunishi
KNakata -- Nakazawa -- Miyamoto? -- Kaji
--------------- Kawaguchi


Or take Ina or Fuku out and add a second forward, like Takahara or Oguro, depending on the opponent.

**Note my insistence on using Matsui; favoritism? indeedy.

Don't take these seriously, though. I'm terrible about these things, second-guessing til the sun goes down. Have your own thoughts? Post your ideal roster in the comments section! :)

As for REAL LIFE,

Zico said in the press conference that he hadn't decided whether he would use a 4-back defense or a 3 in the upcoming Honduras match, but I am pretty sure he will go with a 4.

And Zico did say that he was going to be using all six Europe based players to start...I guess to make their trip over worth our while. These guys have actually not played together in ages and ages, so it will be an interesting evening regardless of who we play. I wonder where he'll put Koji Nakata... probably left sideback.

But really, it's about time we actually win against a South American opponent.

The National Team gathers today for their three day practice until Wednesday's friendly. Hide Nakata arrived in Japan today, so the team's all here.
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Round 22 J1
Omiya Ardija 1-4 Niigata Albirex

Omiya manager Miura's strategy was one of defense going into the game. But as Niigata's Sorimachi said after the game, "Though he tried to defend by placing 4 defenders, they were all stopper-types. I told my three forward players to put a lot of pressure on the back line." Against a team like Omiya (one that likes to stubbornly hold the opponent at bay with their defense), this pressure on the back line proved to be the right way to go. Having to deal with all the pressure the back side was unable to effectively support the front half, and the team was unable to make effective plays. The key was not to not let Omiya get too comfortable and confident in their defense and also important for Albirex to get the first goal to move the game along.
...continues
Gamba Osaka @ Tokyo Verdy
J-League Diaries

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Video clips are Quicktime Movies. They are relatively small, but if you have trouble playing, you may need to right-click and download first before viewing.

Today I went to Ajinomoto Stadium to watch the Gamba Osaka vs. Tokyo Verdy game, Round 22. Although Ajinomoto is used by both Verdy and FC Tokyo, the atmosphere coming out of the station is biased more towards FCTokyo because Verdy straddles both Ajista and the National Kokuritsu stadium for its games. By "biased", I mean things like the number of FCT banners and billboards that catch your eye as you walk towards the stadium. It's a very short and sweet 5 min walk from Tobitakyu station. It was a hot day, but there were occasional cool breezes that made things bearable.
0ajista.jpg

The games starts....
00startgame.jpg


Gamba take things slow at first, and Verdy play a more fluid and creative game.
>>Click to see very amateurish video footage taken by yours truly of one of Verdy's free kicks in the first half. Nice save by goalie; if only Verdy had been able to score when they had control of the game in the first half. ...continues
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