Football (Japan) Lost In Translation . . . Relaunched 2012!
Japan Football: Zaccheroni, Samurai Blue, and general J chatter
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Blank Friday
Before the J.League resumes this weekend, I thought I'd take a little breather from the tension of the past few weeks. But, you know that wasn't going to happen! I did try...

Anyway, here are some tidbit news:

FIFA Rejects JFA Request
I mentioned before that the JFA had sent out a letter to FIFA asking for an investigation into the Iran/North Korea game (Pyongyang) violence this past Wednesday. The JFA wanted something done, like a change in venue to either Japan or a third party country (with two months left until the game, it was just possible to move things around) or to play the game without spectators (which would have been eerie but still reasonable). Unfortunately, FIFA sent a letter back saying that they were going to keep things as they were, no changes. However they did say that they would certainly take into consideration the possibility of problems and guarantee the safety of the referees and the Japan national team. Well, I was thinking that this might happen -- I think the fact that no one actually got hurt was a saving point for North Korea. And perhaps FIFA is saying 'here, we're giving you another chance to get it right'. North Korea being a particularly inexperienced member in the Asian football arena, FIFA/AFC may be using this time to gain some leverage negotiating with North Korea in the future. Ah, politics! Not that country has shown any sign of remorse over what happened -- news there have depicted the incident as a reasonable reaction to an "unfair, biased" referee call. Whatever.

On a lighter note,

Daisuke 100% French
Daisuke Matsui, who was on rental to Ligue 2's Le Mans from J2's Kyoto Purple Sanga, has officially gotten the go ahead for a complete transfer to the France team. He just spent the last week in Tunisia for training, and returned to France recently to play Ligue 1's Paris SG for a friendly. Le Mans won 1-0 (with an assist from Daisuke). He also has posted his first personal message on his official website. Many Japanese fans have been eke-ing out as much info about his progress in France by desperately following webradio gamecasts on the internet or visiting French sites -- there are a couple of fans who apparently speak/understand French, and they have been really kind about posting translations of what they hear on the French webradio/sites. Daisuke said that he was grateful for such support, and looked forward to having direct contact with fans through the site.

J.League Week 3
I think I'll take a close look at tomorrow's game between Jubilo and S-Pulse in this Shizuoka Derby. S-Pulse may have the upper hand going into this game. So far, they haven't done too badly. The team seems to understand the demands of coach Hasegawa, and they play a very simple strategy that is working for them as they have been able to hang on in the four games so far without conceding more than 2 goals (1 win 3 draws). They have started off the year with stability in defense and simplicity in offense.

Jubilo, on the other hand, have been swinging widely without much stability. This could be attributed to the tough schedules demanded of the team (with AFC, Nabisco, and National team players). Coach Yamamoto has had to keep changing players every game with the schedule in mind, which means the team can't quite find the synchronicity they need. The traditional Jubilo "ideal" is quick smooth passing among swiftly moving players. However, we haven't seen this working for them yet. In the opening game against Marinos they ended up sacrificing the ideal for a more no-frills approach. In the next game against Grampus, they attempted the ideal but it ended up backfiring on them with an embarassing 0-3 loss. Grampus was one step ahead of them by persistently keeping up the pressure on Jubilo players, blocking off the momentum and flow of their attack. If S-Pulse are able to put the same kind of pressure on Jubilo tomorrow, will Jubilo be able to one-up them this time? Will they have the flexibility to change tactics? I am curious to see which players coach Yamamoto will choose for the squad. Though a number of players are out to injury, he still has a nice list of high quality players to choose from -- if he is desperate, though, I think he may throw Fukunishi in (Fuku just got back from playing two full NT games this past week so it is expected he will be rested, but if Yamamoto gets desperate he may be used). [Japan soccer football j-league]
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