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Japan Football: Zaccheroni, Samurai Blue, and general J chatter
2005-11<<12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031>>2006-01 ←Navigate Entries with This Calendar
Japan NT Squad for Jan Camp and US
The JFA announced the 22 member list for the National Team's January-February training camp and friendly with the US.

GK
Yoichi Doi - FC Tokyo
Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi - Jubilo Iwata
Histoshi Sogahata - Kashima Antlers

DF
Makoto Tanaka - Jubilo Iwata
Tsuneyasu Miyamoto - Gamba Osaka
Keisuke Tsuboi - Urawa Reds
Yuji Nakazawa - Yokohama F Marinos
Teruyuki Moniwa - FC Tokyo
Shinji Murai - Jubilo Iwata
Alex Santos - Urawa Reds
Akira Kaji - FC Tokyo
Yuichi Komano - Sanfrecce Hiroshima

MF
Takashi Fukunishi - Jubilo Iwata
Yasuhito Endo - Gamba Osaka
Yuki Abe - Jef Chiba
Makoto Hasebe - Urawa Reds
Mitsuo Ogasawara - Kashima Antlers
Masashi Motoyama - Kashima Antlers

FW
Takayuki Suzuki - Kashima Antlers
Tatsuhiko Kubo - Yokohama F Marinos
Seiichiro Maki - Jef Chiba
Hisato Sato - Sanfrecce Hiroshima

Kubo is back after almost a year and half away due to continuing injuries to his back and legs. The Dragon is back!

Newcomers: Urawa's defensive midfielder Makoto Hasebe and Sanfrecce's goal-getter Hisato Sato. Sato is the top scorer in the J-league this year among Japanese players. Hasebe plays a defensive midfield position at Urawa, but is also able to (or at least desires to) become a play-maker.

Nagoya GK Narazaki was hurt in the last round league game. Gamba forward Oguro had a slight injury scare during the taping of a tv variety show last week (twisted his ankle trampoline-ing into a wall). FC Tokyo defensive midfielder Konno is also injured.

The Europe-based players have not been called because they are currently in the midst of their league season.

The Schedule:

January 29: The team undergoes strenuous endurance and physical training for a week under Satouchi's whip.

February 5: The team flies to California.

February 10: Game against the US National team in San Francisco.

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Emperor's Cup Quarter Finals
It was a busy weekend, and the Emperor's Cup quarter-finals sort of went by in a blur. I had thought this last opportunity for a title would get the teams remaining to put on more of a stubborn fight, but the games all finished without any nail-biting PKs. Some teams just didn't have that extra "something" to pull themselves out of a tough situation, and other teams had the momentum.

SportsNavi has included video highlights streams from the game, so I've posted the links below. You may have trouble getting uninterrupted streaming if the demand is high, but maybe try the links again in a day or two.

Cerezo supporters thanking the team for the gift of a xmas win
Cerezo Osaka 3-1 Gamba Osaka
>>Click to see video stream of 1st half
>>Click to see video stream of 2nd half

This last Osaka Derby of the year (I think it was the fifth time these two teams met this year) ended with an unquestionable first victory for Cerezo. Giving away 3 goals is not outside the scope of a Gamba game, but usually they have the firepower to get more goals than they give up. Unfortunately, against a full-strength Cerezo chomping at the bit to finally stamp their foot down and get a win over the league champs, Gamba had little in its reserves.

Cerezo were very strong. The team was effectively thinking as a unit, and their style and aims were very clear. The most inspiring thing about the way Cerezo played was the dynamism with which their front players ran towards the goal when they got possession. With players coming at them at full speed, the Gamba 3-back line was pulled apart, not knowing who to cover on the cross.

Gamba on the other hand, without Araujo and Oguro, had tried to play their style of football relying on individual talent to create inroads, but lacked the finishing creativity and depth. The weakness of a team that has relied heavily on individual skill when they suddenly lose two of their top scoring players.

What hurt Gamba was also that Cerezo put on such a quick threat when they won the ball back, that the players in the back half of midfield, like Endo, who usually play a big role on the offense, could not seem to find good timing to go up and join the attack. Gamba were also a little unlucky on a couple shots, a free kick by Endo hitting the bar, among some other close calls. But overall, watching as a third-party spectator, I was won over by the Cerezo play. And in particular, the importance of Cerezo's veteran stars like Morishima and Nishizawa were a big part of their unity and strength. Nishizawa looked like he was ready to keel over from exhaustion towards the end, but for most of the game he showed why he was still such a key player. His ability to keep the ball, not get pulled down by defenders, it was a great example of some of the fighting spirit we would like to see throughout the J-league next season.

The photo above, from J's Goal, is of the Cerezo supporters thanking the team for a great Xmas present (the win).

Kashima Antlers 0-1 Omiya Ardija
>>Click to see video stream digest of 1st half
>>Click to see video stream of digest 2nd half

Going into the match the comment coming from the Omiya camp was "Even if we defend for 99% of the game, if we can just get that 1% chance. That is our hope." But actually, Kashima were caught on the back foot several times in the first fifteen minutes of the game, with some amazing dribbling by Omiya players like Sakurai, and even sideback Nishimura (boy, could he dribble!), the Orange were this close to scoring very early in the game. But Kashima regained control, and the game for the most part was Kashima's to win.

Unfortunately, it was the same old same old case of The Finish. While Omiya's Morita got through and converted on a sole run past the defense for their one "1% chance" goal, Kashima could not find the back of the net once. Not once. Sigh. To add insult to injury, Ogasawara was given his second yellow of the game was expelled from the pitch in the final minutes.

This finishing has been Kashima's problem for a number of years now, and it will be interesting to see whether the new manager of Kashima will be able to do something about it next season.

Congratulations to Omiya Ardija! They played smart, to their strengths. They knew Antlers would be gunning to come forward, and their simple and dynamic counters were effective and speedy in this game. Very nicely done.

Urawa Reds 2-0 Kawasaki Frontale
>>Click to see video stream digest of 1st half
>>Click to see video stream digest of 2nd half

Shimizu S-Pulse 1-0 Jubilo Iwata
>>Click to see video stream digest of 1st half
>>Click to see video stream digest of 2nd half
New Baby Coming
Hi everyone,

Sorry for lack of posts in the past few days. I had to give back the computer I was borrowing.

But....

Have ordered a new computer and it should be arriving some time this week. Yes! Finally my new baby is coming... At which point I shall be able to get back to properly posting again.

Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season!

The year is coming to an end, and I'd like to start the 2005 Thank You process with a tribute to the supporters of the J league. For those of you who don't normally get to see Japanese club supporters in action, here is a great collection of all 18 J1 club supporters doing their various chants and songs. Some footage was taken at away games, so you don't get the full impact of the home game crowds, but it's still a lot of fun to see and hear.

The order is in the order of the final J1 rankings result this year, from bottom of the table to top (Vissel Kobe up to champions Gamba Osaka last).

>>Click to download video


Odds'n'Ends Videos

>>Click to see Japan football video search at YouTube Includes best goals of 2005, compilation vides of Nakata and Nakamura, goal from Angola game, and some misc.

>>Click to see Nakamura@Celtic compilation video (you will have to register to the forum)

>>Right-click download to see Daisuke Matsui's jumping, falling back header shot from Le Man's game against Bordeaux a couple weeks ago. He didn't get the goal...
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