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ACL and Struggling Japan
There is a question that has been asked on many Asian football forums: Why is Japan so weak in the ACL?

There are a number of theories -- 1) J-leaguers are not used to down-and-dirty battles that tend to characterize other Asian teams/leagues. 2) The two teams involved, Jubilo and Marinos, are currently limping along with too many players who are injured and too many players who play on the NT. 3) J-leaguers are not used to the less-than-luxurious conditions in other Asian countries. 4) There is no support/interest in their ACL games. 5) The refereeing standards are different from those abroad. 5) J-leaguers are physically inferior, or not used to the harsh challenges from opponents. 6) The two representative teams this year are not actually the strongest teams in the J-league right now. etc etc

Whatever the reasons may be, it is something that the League will have to take a look at going forward. But since the final tournament (with all the world's top teams) will be held in Japan this time, it would be rather sad and embarrassing not to have Japan represent Asia. But maybe this is the big kick in the pants that the J-leauge needs to start changing certain rules and parameters. A little late, I know, but what else can we do?

Today, Marinos played Thai team BEC Tero Sasana and won 2-1. Ahn Jung-hwan, returning from his lengthy injury, scored both goals. What a relief it must be to coach Okada to have one of his star forwards back.

Jubilo played Korean "Real Madrid" team Suwon Samsung Bluewings and lost 0-1. I couldn't watch either games (need to get digital!!), so can't comment further. Still, pretty sad start -- Jubilo has been playing pretty badly in the J-league as well, so it's not just an ACL thing. Something is wrong with this team, and my guess is the coach. I am convinced by Yamamoto; I think he lacks one pure vision and ends up patchworking together too many bastardized/diluted versions of other people's theories/strategies. He tries to squeeze the players into some weird cocktail of theoretical ideals that changes from game to game and doesn't build one strong vision keeping in mind the players that he has.
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