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Japan Football: Zaccheroni, Samurai Blue, and general J chatter
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Will Be Gone
Hi Everyone,

ANNOUNCEMENT: This Blog will take a short break until Mid-May.

I will be unable to post for another few weeks due to job-related travel that will take me out of the country. I've been in and out for the past couple weeks, which is why I haven't been able to post new entries, and have not been able to watch any of the J league games for review on this blog unfortunately.

Sorry to everyone who has been following my reports as their only source of info. However, if you are keen to keep up with the J league rounds until Mid-may, please email me and I can forward links to highlight videos and such. Or if you would like to be notified via email when I resume my entries, email me with a note to that effect. Depflight@gmail.com

Otherwise, I will be back by mid-May, at which point it will be the time to review the two Kirin Cup games against Scotland and Bulgaria, and to look at the National Squad announcement for the World Cup team. (biting my nails already!) From then onwards to the World Cup, the discussion will be entirely about the National team, and we can warm ourselves up for June's gem event by taking a detailed look at the squad members and catch up on related news as it comes in.

Look forward to "seeing" you all then! In the meantime, you are all welcome to post comments on your thoughts about the J league and the National Team, or if you hear news you'd like to share.

I'm in Blog-writing withdrawal already...sniff!
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News from Europe
Celtic Season on Coast

Celtic 1-1 Hibernian

It was a rather frustrating afternoon for Celtic in front of home crowds this Sunday. The official League championship celebrations were scheduled for right after the game so a convincing victory was the order of the day, but though the green and white striped jerseys were skating around the pitch with some wonderful passwork and more than enough chances, all they could come up with was the one equalizer. Shunsuke Nakamura created several chances with free kicks and through passes, but the usually finish-strong Celtic lacked that minute difference in front of goal. >>Right-click download game highlights

Celtic 1-3 Coventry (Friendly)

Manager Strachan was pretty disgusted with his bunch after this friendly game that took place last week. He started the same bunch of regulars that played in the win against Kilmarnock last weekend, but after the first half it became obvious that focus, motivation, whatever it was, wasn't there. The only shining point of the game was an early goal by Shunsuke Nakamura -- an awesome long shot. For highlights of the game, >>click here to launch stream.

How 'Bout Two in One?

Now that the season is essentially over in Scotland, the media of course are interested in what Shunsuke will do next. I mentioned last week that the club has made comments about wanting him to stay, but of course there have been offers from Spain. In the midst of all that speculation, Nakamura mentioned that it would be nice to have another Japanese on the team, and Shinji Ono's name came up. Ono's agent has confirmed that Celtic have contacted Ono about it, but nothing concrete yet. Ono at Celtic? Hmm. I was slightly worried but excited about Nakamura embarking into Scottish waters last year, but Ono...no way. I just don't see it. He doesn't have the speed, the physical or the dribbling, and seeing what I saw of Celtic this season, I really don't think Ono would be much of an asset there except in his forward feeds. >>Click to read Evening Times article. Of course, things can change and who knows what things will be like by the summer... There is also mention in the article above that Celtic are also considering Takashi Fukunishi.

Takayuki's Goal

A very short clip of Takayuki Suzuki's two goals in last week's Cup game: >>Right-click to download

Suzuki watched from the bench in this weekend's game against Habitfarm Javor. Red Star won 2-1 after being 0-1 behind.

Dai's Back

After having to sit out the past couple weeks due to an injury to his left ankle, Daisuke Matsui was back in the starting team against Monaco this weekend. The game ended 0-0.

From what I saw of this game, he did not look bad -- made sure to insert at least one trick play, and even had a couple really good opportunities for a goal; one a jumping header at the left post, and another when he got past the defense line on the left to chest trap and shoot. But both balls lacked speed and went at the 'keeper for an easy catch.
J1 Round 6 & 7 Goal Clip Links
Since I had to give up on the idea of trying to catch up with the Round 6 and 7 Summaries, I thought at least I'd record who scored goals and present links to the goal clips (streams) that are made available on the web by J's Goal. I'll be posting the Round 8 report next.

I have updated the results and table for this weekend's J1 games; scroll down and check out the bottom of the right column.

ROUND SIX

Yokohama F Marinos 1-1 FC Tokyo
YFM: Tanaka 62min
FCT: >>Masushima 89min

Cerezo Osaka 2-3 Ventforet Kofu
CO: Ze Carlos 44min, >>Nishizawa 75min
VK: Hasegawa 38min, >>Kuranuki 63min, 72min

Shimizu S-Pulse 2-3 Gamba Osaka
SS: >>Hyodo 44min, Yajima 44min
GO: >>Ienaga 22min, Ferndandinho 71min, Magno Alves 86min
continues
Nabisco Cup April 12th Group Games
Cherry Blossom seasonHappy Spring, but it's been raining or drizzling for a week!

It was a busy Wednesday night. Good news from the Gamba ACL match, but also some extra mid-week football goodness from our Nabisco Group rounds.

>>click to go to the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Info page I set up for all the tables and points and results and upcoming fixtures.

Urawa Reds 3-1 Avispa Fukuoka
AF: Alex 8min
UR: Horinouchi 25min, Yamada 55min, Tulio 83min

The only thing that came as a surprise was that Urawa allowed Fukuoka to score the first goal. This was the first time in all the league and cup games this season that Reds have allowed the opponent to score first, but they carried the game through to the end with level heads getting the win they wanted. Urawa's Ono has injured his ankle (oh, no, indeed), and Washington and Ponte were rested for this match. But they have more than enough quality players that did not disappoint the Reds domination.

Fukuoka's goal came when they got through on the right side with a counter. The ball was sent over to the left where sideback Alex had charged up and then scored. Reds equalized when a Soma corner kick met Horinouchi's right foot. In the second half, Reds' attack really warmed up. Yamada intercepted an Avispa pass, took the ball up himself for a one-on-one showdown with the goalie. Yamada got by the goalie and flicked a pretty loop shot for goal. The third goal came in the last minutes of the game. Soma got to the ball inside the box just at the goaliine, and he sent a cross to the far side where Tulio met it with his head.

Yokohama F Marinos 2-0 FC Tokyo
YFM: Kanou 57min, Kubo 89min
Could this be the start of a "different" Marinos? The Brazilian Triangle broke apart this past week after both Magrao and Marques suffered injuries that would take them out of play for at least 2-4 weeks. They had not won the past 3 games in the league, and I've been looking forward to seeing what manager Okada would do. He took a leap of faith and changed a bunch of players around, saying that he wanted to create/nurture a new backbone to the team by forcing the players to think for themselves.

Okada's gamble was a success, and Marinos played an aggressive and energetic game creating many opportunities. FC Tokyo, whose blueprint strategy is via the sides, were forced to pass around only in their own portion of the pitch. They could not go forward for fear of Marinos' speedy intercept-and-attack.

Marinos could have scored much earlier, given their chances, but finally the moment came at 57 minutes, when Sakata's cross from the left was tapped down by Tokyo keeper Doi. Substitute Kanou was there to push in the loose ball for the goal. Tokyo got a very good chance a few minutes later when Kajiyama sent a cannonball towards goal, but Marinos keeper Nemoto blocked. In injury time, substitute Kubo leapt forward to meet an Ueno free kick. Kubo lightly chipped the ball past the goalie for a comfortable 2-0 result.

Kashima Antlers 3-1 Kawasaki Frontale
KA: Alex Mineiro 39min, Ogasawara 63min, Fukai 89min
KF: Ganaha 85min

I actually had a feeling that Kashima would lose this one. Kawasaki afterall have only 1 Loss in the league, and after that disappointing loss to Gamba last weekend (the one in which Antlers gave away a PK in injury time when the score had been 0-0) the issue of Kashima's state of mind zipped through my head. I know, how disloyal or me, right? :)

Where other teams have had to rest many of their regulars for the Nabisco games, Kashima's Autuori directed all his regulars (with the exception of Fernando who still carries the knee injury) to get out there. And Kawasaki returned the favor with all of their best as well as the return of Ganaha. But here I was suprised to find that Kawasaki were fumbling around in the first half, and missed the two really Key opportunities that were presented them. The first was at 4 minutes, when a Nakamura through pass sent Ganaha through for a one-on-one with the goalie; but there instead of taking a quick shot he tried to dribble around the goalie and missed his chance. The second was at 60 minutes (in the second half, when Frontale had woken up to play more aggressively), when Motoyama took down Juninho as he entered the box. But Juninho's penalty shot was touched by the goalie, and bounced innocently off the bar. If either of these two had gone in, things may have turned out completely different.

Kashima were able to play exactly as they wanted to. They prevented Kawasaki's attackers from doing much, and their characteristic posession style was working for them. At 15 minutes, Alex Minero's pass got to forward Nozawa, but his goal was called off sides. At 39 minutes, it was rookie Uchida again, as he dashed up the right side. The corner kick that resulted from Uchida's effort was taken by Ogasawara, and Iwamasa met fast ball on the near to deflect, and Alex Mineiro dived in to head the ball for goal.

Kasawaki had to pull Marcao out, and his replacement Nishiyama was no match for Kashima's young sideback. Uchida made a run into the box with the ball, and Nishiyama fouled. The PK was taken by Ogasawara who converted for goal 2. With 15 minutes left on the clock, Autuori substituted in little speedy Fukai, who made good use of his opportunity to play -- running full speed about 65 meters to finish an effort by Alex Mineiro.

Jef Chiba 3-2 Albirex Niigata
JC: Nakajima 39min, Hanyu 69min, Maki 82min
AN: Suzuki 20min, Okayama 63min

Albirex started the game putting a lot of pressure on Chiba in their defense, creating momentum and energy on their side. It was Niigata that scored first -- Miyazawa took a shot, but the rain-wet ball slipped out of goalie Kushino's hands for Suzuki's goal. Jef equalized via a loose ball off a free kick.

What was strange was that in the second half, the Jef players decided on their own to have two of their players change positions, hoping to regain rhythm and stability. The two players in question, Mizumoto and Sakamoto were able to get more involved on the attack, and Jef looked to be improving their situation. However, an error in a kick by Jef goalie Kushino gave the ball to Niigata forward Okayama, who had only to dribble and finish to get his team ahead. The error was really bad timing considering Jef had finally started to get things running nicely, and psychologically should have been damaging.

It was interesting to read that after the game Niigata's goalie Nozawa applauded Chiba's attitude after that goal: "After we got that second goal, the Jef players showed amazing mentality." Instead of letting shoulders sag, they went after the win and ran and ran. Six minutes later, Hanyu scored with a drizzling shot to the right of goal. Albirex, who had been dominating in the first half, were by this time low on energy -- not being able to compete with Jef's running philosophy. And they allowed Maki that one opportunity to get his head on the ball -- that "once" was all Maki needed for the 3 points.

Shimizu S-Pulse 2-2 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
SS: Marquinhos 15min, Edamura 77min
SH: Koji Morisaki 32min, Sato 45min

A solid performance from both sides, making the draw less than satisfying for either teams. Sanfrecce's diamond midfield, arranged that way to care against Cho and Marquinhos, suffered from lack of cohesion in the first half. They got pulled apart, forcing the defense line to recede deep into their area, and the strategy of a compact formation fell apart.

First goal from S-Pulse was at 15 minutes -- a cross from the left to the far side of goal found Marquinhos free to head it in. However, Sanfrecce stayed on track to adjust slowly, creeping up the field and adding their numbers forward. At 32 minutes Komano on the right had an open space to receive a pass, and quickly sent in an early cross. Koji Morisaki dashed up from midfield to head the ball for the equalizer. The second half began with a lack of focus from S-Pulse this time, and a long ball right after kick-off to Ueno in the front allowed Sato to slip through and recieve a through pass for a finish with his left foot. But then things evened out again when S-Pulse persisted confidently on the attack, and they were rewarded when a loose ball picked up by Ichikawa for a mid-range shot ended with a goal. Both teams continued to keep compact formations and were aggressive on the attack, but in the end the draw may prove constly for both as fellow Group C Jef Chiba have now created a 4 point difference in the table.

Cerezo Osaka 1-1 Nagoya Grampus
NG: Honda 35min
CO: Furuhashi 55min

Both teams came to the game having to leave out 3-4 of their key players due to injury or fatigue. Both managers were more interested in damage control going forward, but I think Cerezo were the ones who came out of the game the more buoyant of spirit. Cerezo were more aggressive on the attack in the beginning, and also did well to put good pressure on defense. But it was Nagoya that scored first -- a free kick facing the goal almost dead center. Nakamura tapped it sideways to Sudo, who then tapped it sideways to Honda for the shot; a nice free kick play. After that Nagoya should have controlled, but they were unable to get any organization on the build-up process for the attack, and eventually Cerezo got their chance. Cerezo kept up their energy levels without losing motvation. In the second half a through pass was gotten to expertly by goalie Narazaki, but the ball he batted out was picked up by Furuhashi for goal.


Oita Trinita 2-1 Kyoto Purple Sanga
KPS: Matsuda 57min
OT: Takamatsu 59min, Own goal 73min


Ventforet Kofu 2-2 Jubilo Iwata
JI: Funatani 13min, Nishino 89min
VK: Yamazaki 49min, Hayashi 76min
Sota Turns It Around
After 13 games, Sota Hirayama finally stepped up with a crucial equalizer. In this game against NAC, Sota started for the first time in four games. Heracles was trailing 2-1 in the second half when Sota came through with a header at 55 minutes. A cross from the right hit the back of Hirayama's head/neck as he jostled inside the box. Heracles were then able to score two more, ending the initially losing game with a 4-2 victory. This is Sota's 8th goal in the season.
Gamba Osaka 3-0 Dalian Shide
Asian Champions League Group Round

Gamba Osaka 3-0 Dalian Shide
GO: Endo 48min, Magno Alves 56min, 71min

The game took place tonight at Gamba's Banpaku (Expo 70 Commemorative) Stadium against the China side Dalian Shide. First half was 0-0, as Dalian Shide were scrapping for counter attacking moments. But Gamba were playing with care even as they went forward, not allowing Dalian to set up promising opportunities via Jankovic (Dalian's biggest threat).

It was the second half that saw movement on the board, when Endo converted a penalty kick. The penalty was given after defender Liu Yu took down Kaji as he dashed into the box.

Then it was two from current ACL top scorer Magno Alves. The first, Futagawa's through pass meeting well for Magno to finish. The second was from Futagawa again, this time with some passing inside the box.

Magno Alves, Endo, Kaji, IenagaKaji's wife just gave birth to a baby (I don't know if it's a girl or boy) this very day, so as you can see from the pic the goal celebrations were the now predictable baby-rocking dance.

It was important to win this one of course, but even more convincing because they were able to hold the opponent at 0. Gamba are currently at the top of the table thanks to the 15-0 result from the game against Da Nang.
Suzuki Scores Two
Radnicki Nis 0-5 Red Star

Takayuki Suzuki started for the first time at his new Serbia & Montenegro club Red Star Belgrade in yesterday's domestic Cup semi-final against Radnicki Nis (2nd division team where Red Star Prez Stojković got his career start as a pro footballer). Suzuki played the entire 90 mins, position as a right midfielder.

Takayuki SuzukiTakayuki got his first start mostly because the club was resting some of their regular players. Though the opportunity may have come partly from circumstance, he pulled off a solid performance, scoring two goals and creating a number of other good scoring opportunities.

The game started off with an enthusiastic attack from the opponents, but Red Star were superior, and after the ten minute mark were dominating the game. At 13 minutes, a free kick to a Žigić header gave Belgrade their first goal of the day and from then on it was Red Star's game. 21 minutes, Suzuki was on the left with the ball and sent in a left footed cross to center where Purović was waiting but his shot lacked speed and drizzled outside the post right.

In the 26th minute, a Mudrinić long feed from the center circle landed just under Suzuki's feet as he ran into the box. Suzuki took the shot quickly with his right for goal number two. Suzuki was involved in a couple more good plays, one of which saw him faking out the defense on the right side to send in a cross that was shot off by Žigić, but the ball was deflected by a defender.

Red Star continued to assert their dominace, getting two more goals within the first half. In the second half, their focus was intact, and after Purović scored for the fourth goal, it was Suzuki for the fifth. It was 80 minutes, as Perović kept the ball on the left, Suzuki slipped through the defense and indicated to his teammate where he wanted the ball. The goalie came out in response to the low early cross from Perović, but Suzuki got to the ball just before the goalie, trapped quickly with his right to sget past the goalie. He took the shot with his left as two defenders tried to squeeze him off the ball. 5-0.
Reality Meets Art
ehimeorange.jpgSince some of you responded to the photo of Ehime FC's mascot the Orange in that post of photos I did a while back >>click to see page, I thought I'd follow up with information on the related manga before I forgot.

orange11manga.jpgOrange was published between 2001 and 2004 in the issues of Shukan Shonen Champion (weekly manga magazine), and now exists as a 13 part book series >>click to see covers of the 13 books. It was created by Tatsuki Nohda -- The story of a poor weakling club owned by a high school girl and it's main character star striker Musashi Wakamatsu as it fights its way to the first division (F league). The club is in dire straits at the beginning of the story, just as Musashi returns from Brazil and joins the club in order to fulfill a promise he made. If the club doesn't make it to F1 (first division) at the end of the season, the club would be finished.

What has made it attractive to readers is the amount of attention it pays to the supporter culture as well as the way the author involves the typical problems encountered by J clubs -- financial problems, injuries to key players, foreign players who turn out to be duds, problems with players getting pulled out for National team duties. The club is poor, and the city of Nanyo has to financially support a big chunk of the club, even while the Mayor of Nanyo is 100% a football-hater. In general the author sets up a host of characters who are laden with the ironic, but depicted with affection.

Ehime FC and Orange

The club, called Nanyo Orange, is an Ehime club (apparently the city of Nanyo is modelled after Yawatahama City), but its relationship to the real-life Ehime FC (which just made it to the J2 this season) doesn't end there. Ehime FC's mascot (pic above, the Orange), was designed by author Nohda. The mascot is similar but not identical to that of Nanyo Orange. And though Ehime FC had been using club colors of blue and white until 2005, they switched to orange after they joined up with Nohda.

orange_nohda.jpgAuthor Nohda also has drawn a bunch of caricatures for Ehime FC's supporters to decorate their area. In the pic left, you see the author himself standing by one of his works. He is often spotted attending games, and keeps a >>personal blog in which he posts thoughts and photos.

This is one of those manga that will not find international acclaim the way Captain Tsubasa has, the subject matter being way too Japan-specific in nature. It isn't even known inside Japan. But in a way, if you follow the J league, it could be fun because the author plays around with real examples.

SEGA joins in the fun

The naming of "F-league" was taken from Sega's version of the popular video game Sakatsuku -- in which you become an owner of a football club (my brother is currently in year 150 or something like that, so apparently it is addictive). SEGA returned the favor by including a character from Orange in it's 2004 Sakatsuku version -- the main character Musashi.
Catch-up on Europe
As Simple as Getting a Goal

Hamburg SV 2-0 Borussia MG

The way Hamburg celebrate a victory after the final whistle blows, especially at home, is the one refreshing thing about the team. (Personally, no offense to Hamburg fans, I don't think their football is particularly good or fun to watch.) But that bopping up and down in a circle after the game, the way the mascot (a dopey looking blue dragon) joins in, the way a player or two does the can-can inside the circle, the line performance in front of the supporter section, the way the supporters are invited into their merriment -- that's fun to watch.

But this weekend, after Naohiro Takahara got his first goal of the season, it was truly good to watch. After eight long long months of physical and psychological...what? limbo? constipation? Takahara finally got his goal. And when Barbarez slung Takahara over his shoulder to hang him upside down along his back and jump up and down, it was reassuring to see that Takahara has at least some support among his teammates, people who can be happy for him.

This was yet another entrance in the last ten minutes of the game -- Takahara has played in 18 games, 5 of which he has only had 10 minutes or less to play. In injury time, he lightly controlled the trap off a fast through pass from Trochowski while on the run, and flicked the ball to avoid the oncoming goalie's body to bounce into an empty goal. Though the local German papers had diagnosed his troubles as a panic-related weakness in front of goal, at least with this goal he proved it isn't necessarily always true.

Hamburg of course are just universally in high spirits because they are creeping closer to first place Bayern, now with only a 4 point difference. For Takahara, the important thing is to try and get as much time to play, and of course get goals. His position on the National Team I can almost predict is secure, so it's more a matter of how he can prepare himself for June.

Some of the Thunder

Celtic 1-0 Hearts

The win over second placed Hearts at home was a perfect way to get the league championships. Celtic fans have been waiting for this moment all season, and the club's wide lead in points after Rangers sort of fell apart meant the expectations for an early securing of the title were extremely high.

The game itself was not great football; but it was certainly a fight. It was the first time a network tv station (terrestrial freely broadcast channel) showed a Celtic game (albeit it was like four in the morning), and I would have liked the game to contain attractive football to show Celtic's fluidity and speed of their passing style to the people watching a Celtic game for the first time. But it was completely another game.

Shunsuke Nakamura tried to settle the game down but it was just not going to happen, and he looked less and less relevant as the minutes ticked by. Luckily for Celtic, they got an early goal in the first half from Hartson. Nakamura was substituted out early (though disappointing, I agreed this was the best choice), and Celtic ended the game with arms in the air and celebrations.

Celtic 4-1 Kilmarnock

Now with the league title firmly in their arms so early, the rest of the season would be about entertaining the fans and maintaining a performance worthy of champions. So against Kilmarnock in the following round, it was important for Celtic to do these things as well as experimenting with new ideas on attack, being more creative.

Shunsuke Nakamura was terribly disappointed after the Hearts game that he had been so ineffective, and it was important for him to reassert his value in the team. So his two goals against Kilmarnock were very nice follow-throughs after the dissatisfaction he expressed in the previous game.

The first goal was a Nakamura free kick from the right side of the box: >>right-click download video clip As perfect as you can hope for.

The second goal was a persistent and creative team effort that involved probably half the team as it ended with a Maloney through pass to Dublin who heel-tapped it square for Nakamura to pick up. Shunsuke's first touch looked like it would be a shot, so a defender slid in front to block, but Shunsuke's left foot tapped it right to adjust once again and from there he took his shot not to the wider right of goalie but to the left side. The whole sequence was really lovely. >>right click download for goal clip Shunsuke was also involved in the 2-0 goal when he one-touched to allow Maloney through for a cross to Hartson for goal. Though the scoreline looks like Celtic overwhelmed Kilmarnock, it was actually a pretty iffy game for Celtic, with several great passing sequences and opportunities for the Kilmarnock side and some awful errors from Celtic's defense.

There has been some speculation in the press about whether Nakamura will remain at Celtic for another season or not. The Celtic suits have said that they consider Nakamura a crucial part of Celtic, that he has already "become a legend" and that they would do everything they could to make him stay, no matter what kind of offer comes to them from other clubs. Nakamura seems to have found a team that appreciates his style, but the likelihood is that he will want to make his dreams of playing in the Spanish league come true while he is still relatively young enough to play like he wants to. Right now rumors are that three or four Spanish clubs are keen, but as we have seen in past seasons with various players, it's not always as easy as one player's dreams. And just because he goes to a Spanish club does not mean that club is the right fit for him. And of course at Celtic there is the lure of the Champions League and the knowledge that boss Strachan is eager to play a fluid stylish game. The only problem is that though Celtic are obviously a solid team with a champions mentality, the opponents hold less in appeal. In Spain, Nakamura may end up in a relatively weaker team, but he is also keen to play among opponents that reflect some of his ideals style-wise.

This season at Celtic has been I think valuable for Nakamura. Being at a strong club among many internationals, there has been a lot of competition within the team. Nakamura has had to fight to win starting position, and that forced him to become flexible in the way he can contribute to the team, more rounded.

Hide's Future

People love speculating about Hidetoshi Nakata's future. Last week gossipers dished on Nakata's comment in which he mentioned this being his "last World Cup" and his plans for his post-football life. More currently, the problem is at Bolton, where he has not been playing regularly (I read somewhere that he has played 24 minutes total in the past 6 games), and last week was left off the team roster altogether for the away game against Liverpool - in local press read as an indication of how each player ranks in the manager's mind. Instead, Hide voluntarily went to the reserve league to play a game there in order to maintain fitness. Bolton seem to be 99% uninterested in keeping Nakata for next season.

Manager Allardyce stated that he will make no exception and that no player will be allowed to leave the team early to join the national team training ahead of the World Cup.
Again...
Hi everyone, again my schedule has gone off track and I've been forced to let my blogging duties slide for the past week-ish. I'm very sorry for those of you who are looking for news on the past two J1 rounds -- I will post the goal clips that I can find and also the results and if I can do a brief match report on one or two games. Other than that I will unfortunately have to cut my losses and pick up the normal schedule starting Round 8. If you have a specific game or club you're wondering how their last two round games have been, please leave a comment or email me and I'll touch on those games/clubs first.

We also have some good news from Europe, which I will touch on in the European Weekend round-up tomorrow, and hopefully I will be able to catch everything up by the weekend in time for the next J league round 8 games.

Again, sorry for the blip. Unfortunately the way my schedule works (or in most cases, doesn't), it is going to be difficult for me to post on a consistent regular schedule like clockwork (at least some of the time). I will just have to squeeze in what I can when I can to keep up consistently with the J league and the National Team, which are the priorities of course.
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